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From the collection of the 

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o Prelinger 
v Uibrary 


San Francisco, California 

The Woman's 
Encyclopedia f 

of Myths 
and Secrets ^ 

Honored by the London Times Educational 
Supplement as 1986 "Book of the Year" 

"Awesomely researched. . . . Walker has distilled 20 
years of research into an absorbing treasure house. 
This is a feminist-scholar's gold mine and a browsers 
delight." Los Angeles Times 

"Whoever ventures into this . . . book runs the risk of 
being totally absorbed." 
Shirley Horner, The New York Times 

"A mountain of scholarship, a vast mass of supremely 
documented material . . . demonstrating] the dominant 
role women have played in the cultural evolution of our 
species." San Francisco Chronicle 

"Barbara Walker upsets the complacent Judeo- 
Christian applecart of orthodoxy. [An] outstanding, 
endless well of information. . . . Her literary excellence 
and the unrelentingly fascinating material . . .redresses 
two millennia of cultural and sexual misrepresentation." 
East West Journal 

"A whopping compendium of history, legend, and 
myth. . . . Perhaps the first substantial feminist-oriented 
encyclopedia of the history of modern society." 
The Denver Post 

"A vast and detailed resource on women's history . . . 
offering] a wealth of fascinating detail. It will indeed 
give a clearer picture of our total cultural heritage." 
Yoga Journal 

"Walker has written a tribute to the goddess. Like the 
witches and wise women of old, Walker has eyes to see 
what the rest of us cannot: the figure of the goddess 
hidden behind rites, dogma, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, 
superstitions, even our very language. She sees the 
restoring of the goddess to her rightful place as an 
essential healing act for women and our whole 
culture ... You can rely on it to be witty and 
compulsively readable." The Philadelphia Inquirer 


t i 








Harper & Row, San Francisco 

New York, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia, St. Louis 
London, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto 

Opposite title page: kore, polychromed marble, Greece, ca. 
5 th century B.C. 

Acknowledgments appear on p. Ill 9-20. 


Copyright 1983 by Barbara G. Walker. 

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. 

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner 

whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief 

quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information 

address Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, 

New York, NY 10022. 

Designed by Design Office Bruce Kortebein 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Walker, Barbara G. 

The women's encyclopedia of myths and secrets. 

Bibliography: p. 

1. Women Mythology + Dictionaries. 2. Sexism- 
Religious aspects Dictionaries. 3. Matriatchy 
Dictionaries. Goddesses Dictionaries. I. Title. 
BL458.W34 291'. 088042 83-47736 
ISBN 0-06-250926-8 
ISBN 0-06-250925-X (pbk.) 

90 91 92 93 94 16 15 14 13 12 

Editor's Note 

Cross references. Words printed in the text of this book in bold 
face type indicate main-entry treatment of those subjects. Such cross 
references have been designated only if the reader might find 
additional information pertinent to the subject at hand. Short articles 
have been supplemented by generous cross references, to avoid 
frequent duplication of material. 

Some main entries serve as cross references in themselves: rather 
than introducing articles, they refer the reader to treatment 
elsewhere. For example, the entries for alphabet, blood, and world egg 
indicate the various other articles in which the reader will find 
information about these topics. Cross references have also been 
included for alternate spellings of main-entry headings Isolde 
instead of Iseult, Beelzebub instead of Baal-Zebub, and so on. 

The customary differentiation between see and see also does not 
appear in this book. The reader can decide to seek further 
information either for direct expatiation or simply for general interest. 

Marginalia. An unusual aspect of this encyclopedia is its marginal 
notations. There are three kinds. 

First, since so many terms appear in different languages and 
different historical eras, variant spellings are given in the margin to 
show their cross-cultural associations. 

Second, as an extension of the above, where the etymology is 
particularly rich and might tend to interrupt the main story, it has 
been put in the margin. 

Third, the author has drawn on such an abundance of sources 
that all cannot be included in the Bibliography. Hence, those used 
only once or twice have been given a brief description or definition in 
the margin. 

References. The notes are numbered from 1 for each article. 
Information is abbreviated but sufficient to clue the reader to the 
full reference in the Bibliography. The sequence is: author's last name 
(preceded by distinguishing initials if there is more than one author 
with the same last name); title (abbreviated) if there is more than one 
work by the same author; volume number if pertinent; and page 
reference. For example: 

1. Budge, G.E.2, 47. 
This indicates that note 1 cites Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, Gods of the 
Egyptians, volume 2, page 47. The rest of the publication data is in 
the Bibliography, which is arranged alphabetically by author. 



Why did Adam "give birth" to Eve? See Birth-giving, Male. 

Who was the original Holy Trinity? See Trinity. 

How did the middle finger become a phallic symbol? See Fingers. 

Why is it bad luck to break a mirror? See Mirror. 

What was the real Easter Bunny? See Easter. 

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? See Fig. 

Why do people kiss under the mistletoe? See Mistletoe. 

What was meant by Lucifer's fall? See Lucifer. 

Why was Jesus's tomb attended only by women? See Mary Magdalene. 

Why was Mohammed's daughter called her father's mother? See Fatima. 

Why did Rome fall? See Dark Age. 

Was there a real Saint Peter? See Peter, Saint. 

Why were women made to cover their heads in church? See Hair. 

Why did early Christians outlaw marriage? See Marriage. 

Why did King Arthur try to kill babies? See Innocents, Slaughter of. 

Was there a female pope? See Joan, Pope. 

What was the real meaning of fairy tales? See Fairies. 

Thousands of popular fantasies and hidden facts are expounded in this 
Encyclopedia, where the complex subject of sexism is approached 
from both the historical and the mythic viewpoints. Standard encyclope- 
dias usually omit such material, or give it a brief, uninformative note. 
There is need for a complete study of the many-faceted process of 
transition from female-oriented to male-oriented religions in western 

Our culture has been deeply penetrated by the notion that 
"man" nor woman is created in the image of God. This notion 
persists, despite the likelihood that the creation goes in the other 
direction: that God is a human projection of the image of man. No 
known religion, past or present, ever succeeded in establishing a 
completely sexless deity. Worship was always accorded either a 
female or a male, occasionally a sexually united couple or an androgy- 
nous symbol of them; but deities had a sex just as people have a sex. 
The ancient Greeks and others whose culture accepted homosexuality 
naturally worshipped homosexual gods. (See Hermes.) 

Opposite page: The Goddess maat, bas-relief, Egypt, 19th Dynasty. 


Introduction Modern Christians take it for granted that they must revere the 

figures of a Father and a Son, never perceiving divinity in corre- 
^^^^^^^^^^ sponding Mother and Daughter figures, as the ancients did. Though 
Catholics still worship the Goddess under some of her old pagan 
titles, such as Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Blessed Virgin and so 
on, their theologians refuse to admit that she is the old Goddess in a 
new disguise, and paradoxically insist on her non-divinity. (See Mary.) 

The older concept of the female Holy Trinity ruling all cycles of 
creation, birth, and death in her Virgin, Mother, and Crone forms, 
was destroyed by Christians' attacks on her temples, scriptures, rituals, 
and followers. The church declared from the first that the Great 
Goddess "whom Asia and all the world worshippeth" must be despised, 
"and her magnificence destroyed" (Acts 19:27). This is virtually the 
only Gospel tenet that churches followed through all their centuries 
with no deviation or contradiction. It seemed necessary to hide the 
fact that Christianity itself was an offshoot of Middle-Eastern Goddess 
worship, skewed by the asceticism of Persia and India. (See Jesus 

As a salvation cult, early Christianity based its scheme of redemp- 
tion on the premise of female wickedness. Salvation was needed 
because there had been a Fall, brought about by archetypal Woman. 
Without the myth of Eve's defiance, there would have been no sin, 
hence no need for salvation or savior. (See Eve.) Fathers of the church 
declared that the original sin was perpetuated through all generations 
by every woman, through sexual conception and birth-giving. Woman's 
mysterious, devilish sexual magnetism seduced men into the "concu- 
piscence" that, even within lawful marriage, transmitted the taint of sin 
to every man. (See Sex.) So said St. Augustine, and the church never 
altered his opinion. 

Throughout history we find clergymen advocating abuse of wom- 
en, to express their horror of female sexuality and their conviction 
that all women deserve punishment for the primordial crime that 
brought death and damnation to man. Adam, representing all men, 
was less guilty than Eve, representing all women. St. Paul even 
regarded Eve as the only guilty one (1 Timothy 2:14). The tradition 
persisted up to the present century, when the clergy, if not advocating 
active abuse of women, at least refrained from too much interference 
with it. Some clergymen have been found to be wife-batterers. Many 
still counsel women to be subservient to men, in accordance with 
"God's will." (See Sexism.) 

Man's and God's attack on women was not usually justifiable as 
revenge for real injuries. Therefore the mythical injury of the Fall 
was essential to the early theological scheme. The practical goal was not 
to prevent women from hurting men, but to prevent women from 
acting independently of men: from owning their own property, earning 
their own money, making their own sexual choices, or raising their 
own children without interference. 

Patriarchal religion declared war on pagan societies where mother- 

hood was once considered the only important parental relationship- 
where women owned the land and governed its cultivation; and sexual 
attachments were made and unmade at women's discretion. (See 
Matrilineal Inheritance.) From a biological viewpoint, patriarchal 
religion denied women the natural rights of every other mammalian 
female: the right to choose her stud, to control the circumstances of her 
mating, to occupy and govern her own nest, or to refuse all males 
when preoccupied with the important business of raising her young. 
(See Motherhood.) 

Such basic biological rights of the female were set aside by 
patriarchal human societies although, at the dawn of history, the 
social role of male begetters was very differently conceived, in'a way 
alien to modern patriarchal thought. (See Kingship.) Today's schol- 
ars habitually call all female and male deities of that ancient world 
"gods," as they also call humanity "man." Yet the supreme deity of 
that world was usually a Goddess, the creatress or Mother of the gods; 
and the very word "man" used to mean "woman," an incarnation of 
the same lunar Mother, in its original language. (See Man.) 

Early Christian thinkers rightly perceived that destruction of the 
women's Goddess would mean a crushing blow to women's pride 
and confidence, since men's pride depended greatly on their vision of a 
God like themselves, only better. Women were not called daughters 
of this God, who gave men their souls. In the sixth century, churchmen 
even denied that women had any souls. 

Forbidden by Christian conquerors to express their own faith, the 
women of Europe eventually adopted the men's faith perforce. 
Sometimes they were lured by specious concessions, which were 
afterward rescinded. (See Convent.) Sometimes they were coerced 
by Christianized husbands or overlords. The myths and secrets of 
women's spiritual past were buried, just as men buried the sheila-na- 
gig figures of semi-pagan Irish churches, hoping they would never be 
found. (See Sheila-Na-Gig.) 

However, what Christian histories rarely admit is that, after more 
than a thousand years of alternate violence and guile, the western 
world still was not truly Christianized. The ancient faith persisted, 
because every man was still born of woman and nurtured by woman, 
despite the theologians' insistence that a father was the only significant 
parent. (See Paganism.) This was mere verbal learning, as contrast- 
ed with the direct experience of infantile dependence on the mother. 
When it appeared at all, father-love seems to have been a somewhat 
less satisfactory artificial imitation of mother-love. (See Fatherhood.) 
In relations between fathers and children the more dominant emo- 
tion was fear. Men were enjoined from the pulpit to instill "the fear of 
God" into their children through harsh punishments. 

Harshest of all were the Heavenly Father's punishments: a terrible 
vision of eternal torture developed out of men's fears. The Christian 
hell was the most sadistic fantasy ever to masquerade as fact. (See Hell.) 
Churchmen used it, not only to terrify naive congregations into 


Introduction compliance, but also to excuse the torture and burning of witches. 

Inquisitors said the eternal punishment of such heretics should begin 
^^^^^^^^^^ in this life, continuing up to the victim's death. (See Inquisition.) 

The religion of the Goddess and her sons and lovers, the old gods, 
came to be called devil worship because these deities were redefined 
as devils (when they were not adopted into the Christian canon as 
pseiido-saints). The link between "woman" and "devil" in the 
patriarchal mind was as old as the Garden of Eden story. (See Serpent.) 
It persisted even after the dawn of a more enlightened age brought 
the decline of organized persecution. However, the rack and stake were 
replaced in the 18th and 19th centuries by more subtle abuses, aimed 
at suppressing women legally, politically, economically, and psychologi- 
cally. Clergymen helped by opposing women's education and 
supporting all physical or legal measures for keeping women "in their 
place." As Sir Hermann Bondi accurately observed, men made God 
their primary source for "the common and undisguised contempt for 
women enshrined in the three great Western religions, the basis for 
the cruel, inhuman and wasteful sexism still so rampant." Women's 
feelings of unworthiness and insecurity, even aberrations like mas- 
ochism and depression, often may be traced to training in a male- 
oriented religion, at variance with their own nature. 

Recently, some women have begun to seek better understanding 
of that feminine nature, buried as it was under western society's 
proliferation of masculine images and values. One interesting idea to 
emerge from this new research is, if women's religion had continued, 
today's world might be less troubled by violence and alienation. Gods, 
including Yahweh, tended to order their followers to make war; 
whereas the great mother Goddesses advocated peaceful evolution of 
civilized skills. Cooperation rather than exploitation was the matriar- 
chal rule. (See War.) 

Goddess worship usually entailed frank acceptance of the natural 
cycles of sexuality, birth, and death; and maternal concern for the 
welfare of coming generations. Love was not the abstract principle that 
"love of God" was to become. In the very process of worship it could 
be directly, intimately, and physically experienced. (See Karuna.) 
Certainly there was still a strong element of this Oriental-feminist 
concept in the medieval "heresies" that aroused the ire of the church. 
(See Romance.) 

Perhaps the most important part of any religion is the direction it 
gives to interpersonal behavior patterns. The patterns evolved by 
women in honor of their ancient Goddess surely deserve close study 
today. As one of the Goddess's scriptures pointedly said, "What use 
are grand phrases about the soul on the lips of those who hate and injure 
one another? . . . Religion is kindness." (See Atheism.) 

Traces of the "kind Goddess" are still to be found in a thousand 
hidden pockets of history and custom: myths, superstitions, fairy tales, 
folk songs and dances, nursery rhymes, traditional games and holidays, 

magic symbols, sagas, and scriptures both original and revised, apoc- Introduction 

ryphal and otherwise in addition to the valuable material recovered by 

archeologists, orientalists, and other scholars. Patterns emerge from 

comparative studies, which can be fitted together like pieces of a jigsaw ^^^^^^ 
puzzle. The puzzle is far from complete; but many of its pieces are 
here, in this book. 

These Myths and Secrets are drawn from more than paganism. 
Biblical myths are especially significant, not only because they shaped 
the attitudes of western culture, but also because they were written and 
rewritten during centuries of transition from matriarchal to patriarchal 
systems. The later development of Christian myths contributed much to 
sexist thinking. In Europe, sexism was a primary product of the 
Christian church. Patriarchal religions like Judaism and Christianity 
established and upheld the "man's world" largely by an elaborate 
structure of falsehood. Among the Secrets in this book are many 
surprising historical secrets that were covered up, whitewashed, or 
otherwise falsified through 1 500 years when the church maintained a 
monopoly of literate records, and virtually wrote its own history to its 
own order. 

Some of the facts concealed by that Christian history have come to 
light in recent decades. Others are being kept secret even now, by 
religious organizations still dedicated to preserving a patriarchal society. 
Laymen and especially women are theoretically forbidden to investi- 
gate them. Nevertheless, they can be found out. 

Naturally, the secret most deeply concealed by Christianized 
history was the many-named Goddess, the original Holy Trinity who 
created and governed the world, gave birth to its Saviors, sent her tablets 
of divine law to the prophets, and watched over every life from womb 
to tomb, according to pre-Christian belief. Today she is viewed as 
"mythical," having been replaced by a God (equally mythical, but 
more acceptable to a male-dominated culture), who took over most of 
her attributes. It is not usually understood that the spiritual life of 
western man, and especially of western woman, was greatly impover- 
ished by her violent suppression. 

The unremitting warfare of the church against followers of the 
Goddess is a large part of what feminists now call our hidden history. 
Even though Christianity itself grew out of the once-universal religion 
of the Goddess, it was a matricidal son whose bigotry tinged every 
thought and feeling with woman-hatred. In the end it produced a 
society in which members of one sex invariably oppressed members 
of the other, and both came to regard this inequity as a natural state of 
affairs, ordained by a male "Creator." Matters were otherwise in the 
pre-Christian world where the "Creator" was more often a "Creatress." 
Through making God in his own image, man has almost forgotten 
that woman once made the Goddess in hers. This is the deep secret of 
all mythologies, and the fundamental secret of this book. 


) *. ** 

>}?**' H 






artemis, the Amazonian 
Moon-Goddess and 
Huntress. Greek, 4th 
century b.c. 

The "Ludovisi Throne" 
marble, long 
identified as aphrodite 
being born from the 
sea, helped by two 
Horae. Now thought 
to be Hera in her bath. 
Greek, 5th century b.c. 

Majestic seven-foot 
statue of athene, her 
great helmet with owls 
and griffins, and 
across her chest the aegis 
with the Medusa 
head signifying Female 
Wisdom. Early 4th 
century, bronze. 



Sacred alphabets of the ancient world signified birth and beginning by 
the letter A. This letter meant the Creatress, who invented alphabets 
and gave them to mankind though most traditions said womankind 
had them first. 

Babylonians called the Great Mother "A", the Beginning; or Aya, 
the Mother of All Things. 1 Tantric sages called her birth-letter Alpa 
Akshara, "the letter A, which is considered the 'mother of all wisdom,' 
and therefore of all men of genius; all Bodhisattvas and Buddhas are 
said to have been produced by 'A'." 2 

The Greeks held similar views about the letter Alpha, which de- 
noted the river of birth or creation. Its other name was Styx, the river 
of death, for in the cyclic system of the ancients, birth and death merged 
in a circular continuum. The river Styx circled seven times through 
the earth's womb and emerged again as Alpha. 

X.Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 133-34. 2. Waddell, 161. 


Egyptian word for the heart-soul, most important of the seven souls: 
the one that would be "weighed in the balances" by the Goddess Maat 
in the underworld Hall of Judgment after death. As in India, the 
heart-soul was pictured as a tiny dancer treading a constant rhythm in 
the midst of the body, as Dancing Shiva or Dancing Kali kept the 
rhythm of life in the midst of the cosmos. The hieroglyphic sign of the 
ab was a dancing figure. 1 See Heart. 

1. Budge, E.L., 44. 

var. Abaton 


The god Apollo was a solar king in heaven during the day, and a 
Lord of Death in the underworld at night. His latter form became the 
Jewish Apollyon, Spirit of the Pit (Revelation 9:1 1). Apollo-Python 
was the serpent deity in the Pit of the Delphic oracle, who inspired the 
seeress with mystic vapors from his nether world. The Greek word 
for the Pit was abaton, which the Jews corrupted into Abaddon later a 
familiar Christian synonym for hell. 

Also called a mundus or earth-womb, the abaton was a real pit, 
standard equipment in a pagan temple. Those who entered it to 
"incubate," or to sleep overnight in magical imitation of the incubatory 
sleep in the womb, were thought to be visited by an "incubus" or 
spirit who brought prophetic dreams. 1 Novice priests went down into 
the pit for longer periods of incubation, pantomiming death, burial, 
and rebirth from the womb of Mother Earth. Once initiated in this way, 
they were thought to gain the skill of oneiromancy: the ability to 
interpret dreams. 

The Old Testament Joseph earned his oneiromantic talent by Abishag 

incubation in a Pit. The "brothers" who put him there seem to have 

been fellow priests. He could interpret Pharaoh's dreams only after he ^ 

had submitted to the ritual. Assyrian priests derived similar powers 
from a sojourn in the Pit. 2 They then assumed the priestly coat of many 
colors, signifying communion with the Goddess under her 
oneiromantic name of Nanshe, "Interpreter of Dreams." 5 It seems 
likely that Joseph's coat of many colors would have been given him 
originally not before the initiation but afterward, by a "father" who was 
actually the high priest. 4 

The same burial-and-resurrection ritual is found in the lives of 
many ancient sages. It was said of the Pythagorean philosopher 
Thales of Miletus, accounted one of the Seven Wise Men of the 
ancient world, that he derived his intellectual skills from communion 
with the Goddess of Wisdom in an abaton. 5 

1. Bromberg, 11.2. Lethaby, 172. 3. Assyr.dr Bab. Lit, 131. 4. Larousse, 63. 
5. de Lys, 336. 


The Bible claims the maiden Abishag was chosen for her beauty, to 
engender "heat" in the aged King David (1 Kings 1:2). This "heat" 
was not mere warmth, but the sacred fire of sexual potency, without 
which no king could be allowed to rule. If an impotent king were kept in 
office, his land would become barren. Hence, when David failed to 
"know" Abishag, a more virile prince (Adonijah) immediately prepared 
to assume the throne, and "exalted himself, saying, I will be king" 
(I Kings 1:5). David's death occurred with suggestive promptness after 
his failure of the virility test. 

Abishag's name might be related to the Hindu abhiseka ceremony, 
the anointing of kings with the sacred fluid of the Goddess Sarasvati. 1 
From China to the Mediterranean, ancient kings derived their 
legitimation from a mating with the Goddess through her priestess- 
surrogate. 2 Mesopotamian kings and their deified souls, the gods, 
were constantly described as "beloved" of the Goddess known as 
creatress of the earth and "maker of fate, she who decrees the fate of 
the men and gods." 5 Like the eastern Goddess, Abishag represented the 
land in the same way as Solomon's bride, whose mating was 
chronicled in the requisite intimate detail by the Song of Solomon. 

After David's death, the queen mother chose between rival candi- 
dates Solomon and Adonijah. She crowned Solomon with her own 
hands (Song of Solomon 3:11), after the custom of the royal women 
whose business it was to enthrone or depose kings, as in India, Egypt, 
and the lands of the Fertile Crescent. 4 However, Adonijah still had 
designs on the throne, as shown by his request for the hand of 
Abishag in marriage. To prevent this symbolically and politically signifi- 
cant marriage from taking place, Solomon had Adonijah murdered 

Abortion (1 Kings 2:17-25). The Bible fails to explain Solomon's strangely 

violent reaction to Adonijah's request; but it can only have meant that 

^^^^^^^^^^^ the crown was at stake. This in turn shows that a sexual union with 

Abishag was a prerequisite for royal office. See Kingship. 

1. Gaster, 514. 2. Boulding, 191. 3. Pritchard, A.N.E. 1, 65; 2, 17, 21, 135, 202. 


The ancients generally viewed abortion as a woman's private busi- 
ness, in which no man had any right to interfere. As Hartley put it, 
"Each woman must be free to make her own choice; no man may 
safely decide for her; she must give life gladly to be able to give it well." 1 
But with the rise of patriarchal religions especially among the 
Greeks came a belief that a father's semen conveyed the soul to the 
fetus. Men feared for the safety of any of their body effluvia (hair 
cuttings, fingernail clippings, spittle, blood) lest sorcery might damage 
the living man by damaging what was once a part of him. The fear 
was particularly pronounced in the case of semen as an extension of the 
father's soul. If the fetus he conceived were destroyed, then surely the 
man himself would suffer spiritual injury according to the principles of 
magic. St. Thomas Aquinas held this same opinion, since he asserted 
that semen was the vehicle of souls. 2 It was a logical extension of this 
notion that abortion should be outlawed, not because it was danger- 
ous to women, but because it was thought (magically) dangerous to 

In the east, however, abortion was perfectly legal at any time 
before the fifth month, when "quickening" was felt. After that, 
according to Brahman scriptures, a woman who destroyed her fetus was 
held guilty of murder, but before that time the fetus was soulless and 
could be destroyed with impunity. 3 This opinion was embodied in the 
Catholic church's Doctrine of Passive Conception, which contradict- 
ed Aquinas in order to prove that the soul comes only from God. Up to 
the late 19th century, the Doctrine of Passive Conception declared 
that the soul arrives in the fifth month of pregnancy, to quicken the 
fetus, which was previously soulless. 4 

In 1 869 the church again revised its opinion, tacitly admitting 
either that God had misinformed his church about his method of 
instilling the soul into the body, or else that he had decided to alter it. 
Pope Pius X announced that the soul was received at conception 
after all. 5 

Actually, the church was only coming around, several decades late, 
to follow some new laws made by man, not by God. Abortion was 
not classified as a crime in Europe until the 19th century. 6 The United 
States first defined abortion as a criminal offense in the year 1830. 7 

The church now falsely pretends that it officially "always" opposed 
abortion. The medieval church's ire was aroused not by abortions per 

se but by the midwives who performed them. The handbook of the Abraham 

Inquisition stated: "No one does more harm to the Catholic faith 

than midwives." 8 (See Midwifery.) The church was not averse to ^^^^^^^^ 

killing the unborn, since it burned many pregnant women as witches. 

Even the pregnant wife of a city councillor was tortured and burned at 

Bamberg in 1630. 9 

Recent opposition to legalization of abortion apparently stemmed 
from ignorance of how recently it was illegalized; and also from male 
belief that women must be controlled by forcing childbirth on them. 
"Male legislators have laughed at the idea of the legalization of abor- 
tion, hinting at unprecedented promiscuity (on the part of women, not 
men) if such a thing were allowed. Meanwhile, thousands of desper- 
ate women die each year as the direct result of male laws making 
abortion illegal. Women are learning the meaning of this male 
laughter and indifference in the face of the most hazardous and serious 
biological enterprise women undertake, willingly or not." 10 

The Catholic church still claims authority over women's repro- 
ductive functions. Catholic hospitals will refuse to abort even a fetus 
conceived by rape. 11 

I. Hartley, 263. 2. Rees, 277. 3. Mahanirvanatantra, 269. 4. Briffault 2, 450. 

5. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 352. 6. Encyc. Brit, "Abortion." 7. Rugoff, 256. 
8. Kramer & Sprenger, 66. 9. Robbins, 509. 10. Roszak, 299. 

I I . Medea & Thompson, 1 14. 


This name meaning "Father Brahm" seems to have been a Semitic 
version of India's patriarchal god Brahma; he was also the Islamic 
Abrama, founder of Mecca. But Islamic legends say Abraham was a 
late intruder into the shrine of the Kaaba. He bought it from priestesses 
of its original Goddess. 1 Sarah, "the Queen," was one of the God- 
dess's titles, which became a name of Abraham's biblical "wife." 2 Old 
Testament writers pretended Sarah's alliances with Egyptian princes 
were only love-affairs arranged by Abraham for his own profit which 
unfortunately presented him as a pimp (Genesis 12:16) as well as a 
would-be murderer of his son (Genesis 22:10). 

In the tale of Isaac's near-killing, Abraham assumed the role of 
sacrificial priest in the druidic style, to wash Jehovah's sacred trees 
with the Blood of the Son: an ancient custom, of which the sacrifice of 
Jesus was only a late variant. Jehovah first appeared to Abraham at 
the sacred oak of Shechem, where Abraham built his altar. Later 
Abraham built an altar to the oak god of Mamre at Hebron. Even in 
the 4th century a.d., Constantine said Abraham's home at the Oak of 
Mamre was still a pagan shrine: "It is reported that most damnable 
idols are set up beside it, and that an altar stands hard by, and that 
unclean sacrifices are constantly offered." 3 

1. Briffault 3, 80. 2. Graves, W.G., 163. 3. Frazer, F.O.T., 335. 


var. Abrasax 


Gnostic god identified with both Mithra and Jehovah, called "Our 
Father" and "Lord of Hosts" in the early Christian era. 1 Like Mithra, 
Abraxas represented "the 365 Aeons," 365,000 years allotted to the 
present world's life span, based on the Hindu idea that one god- 
year equals a thousand man-years. Jewish scripturists incorporated this 
belief into Psalms 90:4, and into the First Book of Adam and Eve, 
where God said his five and a half days meant 5,500 years for man. 2 
Numerical values of Mithra's and Abraxas's names each totaled 365. 
Both were gods of numerology. 

Orthodox Christianity came to view Abraxas as a demon, because 
he was assimilated to the Gnostic "Lord of This World" whose 
attributes were both divine and demonic. As the Creator of the material 
universe, he was declared a devil via the Gnostic opinion that all 
matter was evil. Thus, he and his works the material world itself 
would be destroyed at doomsday. 5 Nevertheless, through the Middle 
Ages Abraxas was a favorite deity of several heretical sects. 

1. Budge, AT., 209. 2. Forgotten Books, 6. 3. Legge 2, 239. 


The Bible presents Absalom as either David's son or David's neigh- 
bor (2 Samuel 12:1 1) because biblical writers couldn't decide just where 
he came from. He was important only as a surrogate "king" of the 
Jews. His name, Father Salm, was a widely distributed sacred-king 
name, also rendered Salma, Salem, Salomon, or Solomon; in Assyria, 
Shalmaneser; in Crete, the "son of God" Salmoneus. 1 The name 
meant Prince of Peace, which was synonymous with Lord of Death 
because "Peace" was the Lord's word of farewell as he descended into 
the underworld. 

Canaanites worshipped Father Salm at the city of Salem, whose 
Palestinian counterpart was Jeru-salem, "House of Salem." Kings of 
David's ancestral tribe, the Kenites, took the sacred name when ruling 
in Jerusalem. Probably several of these kings were called Solomon, 
including the biblical one whose real name was Jedidiah, according to 2 
Samuel 12:25. 

Absalom received the sacred name and died as a surrogate for the 
incumbent king, David, whose mourning for him was really a 
liturgical formula. He called Absalom "my son, my son," and cried 
"Would God I had died for thee" to disguise the fact that the victim 
really had died in his place. Among ancient Semites generally, someone 
had to die for the king at regular intervals, to preserve the fertility of 
the soil and the people with his blood. See Kingship. 

Time-honored precedent dictated the format of the drama. The 
chosen victim sat on the throne, and publicly copulated with the royal 
women under a marriage canopy (2 Samuel 16:22). See Huppah. 

After this, Absalom was declared a god and his phallic spirit was Abtu 

immortalized by an erect pillar (2 Samuel 1 8: 1 8). He was hung on a Achilles 

sacred oak "between heaven and earth," like all victims offered to ^^^^^^^^^ m 

deities of the air and sky. 2 He was pierced through the heart by three 
darts, like the Egyptian god Set. He was dismembered by ten men in 
priests' livery (2 Samuel 18:14-1 5). According to the old custom, pieces 
of him were then distributed to the fields and vineyards to encourage 
the growth of crops. 

1. Graves, W.G., 363-64. 2. Angus, 173. 


The "Abyss," sometimes called Fish of Isis, representing her genital 
orifice, which "swallowed" the penis of Osiris. Abtu was the Egyptian 
name of Abydos, an early yonic shrine where the god died and 
entered his Mother's womb, the underworld. See Fish. 


"Abysmal apathy," ecclesiastical term for the acute depression afflict- 
ing those in the monastic life. 1 They recognized that acedia 
made monks and nuns especially susceptible to demonic possession. 
See Possession. 

1. Mumford, 302. 


Mother Goddess who gave birth to the creator of the material uni- 
verse, according to early Gnostic Christians. 1 She was the third 
person of a primordial female trinity consisting of Sige, Sophia, 
and Achamoth comparable to northern Europeans' divine Great- 
Grandmother, Grandmother, and Mother. 2 The three of them 
chastised the male creator for excessive hubris and other offenses. 
See Sophia, Saint. 

1. Legge 2, 69. 2. Turville-Petre, 147. 


Homeric hero of the Iliad, greatest of the Greek warriors at the siege 
of Troy. Achilles was a son of the Sea-goddess, here called Thetis, "She 
Who Disposes." Most of his body was invulnerable because his 
mother dipped him in the holy river Styx when he was an infant; but 
the spot on his heel, where her fingers held him, was not exposed to 

Aciel the magical waters. Therefore he could be, and was, killed by an arrow 

Adam in his heel, as was the Hindu Krishna. Hence any area of vulnerability 

^^^^^^^^^^^ in an otherwise strong structure or person is known as an Achilles Heel. 

Like Heracles, Achilles lived for some time in female disguise, 
recalling the priesthoods of Homeric and pre-Homeric times who 
wore women's clothing to attain the powers of divinity. 


Black Sun of the Chaldean underworld; the god of darkness at the 
bottom of the sevenfold Pit, exactly mirroring the gods of light at the top 
of the seventh heaven. Most underground gods and Lords of Death 
were similar to Aciel Hades, Pluto, Saturn, Ahriman, Apollyon, 
Python, Zeus Chthonios, and their later composite, the Judeo-Christian 
devil. Jewish writers made Aciel a "prince of Gehenna" and corrupted 
his name to Arsiel. 1 He was not always devilish or evil. Oriental religions 
generally recognized that a principle of darkness was necessary to life, for 
only in the nether darkness could regeneration take place. 
1. Budge, G.E. 1,275. 


Sacred king of the Artemis cult, impersonator of the Horned God; a 
man "turned into a stag" and devoured. His antecedents went back to 
"paleolithic paintings in the Spanish caves of Altamira and in the 
Caverne des Trois Freres at Ariege dating from at least 20,000 b.c." l 

1. Graves, W.G., 229. 

Adah and Zillah 

"Brilliance" and "Shadow," biblical wives of Lamech; a trans- 
formation of the two-faced Goddess of birth and death, light and dark, 
Alpha and Omega known in Anatolia as the Two Ladies, in Egypt 
as the Two Mistresses. 1 The Goddess appeared in many light-and-dark, 
heaven-and-hell, new-moon-and-old-moon combinations, such as 
Isis-Nephthys, Ishtar-Ereshkigal, Kore-Persephone. 

1 . Larousse, 29. 


Literally, a man made of blood; in pre-biblical myths, a creature 
formed by the Goddess of Earth from her own clay (adamah), given life 

by her blood. (See Eve.) The idea of Adam's rib was taken from a Adam-Kadmon 

Sumerian Goddess who formed infants' bones from their mothers' ribs. Adelphos 

She was both Lady of the Rib, and Lady of Life. Her name carried ^^^^^^^^^ 

both meanings at once. 1 See Birth-giving, Male. 
l.Hooke.M.E.M., 115. 


Gnostic image of primordial man: an innocent know-nothing, a brute 
Adam made of mud. Probably based on the most ancient Middle- 
Eastern view of humanity as a race of peasant-slaves created by the 
gods to be farm workers and nothing else. In occult tradition Adam- 
Kadmon was the perennial Fool, or Prince of Fools, symbolizing 
the unenlightened man. His name was given to the zero-numbered 
FooloftheTarot. 1 

l.Gettings, 111. 


Sumero-Babylonian version of the first man; one of the sources for 
the biblical figure of Adam. The gods tricked him and his descendants 
out of immortality because they didn't want mere mortals to become 
deathless like gods. They lied to the man, telling him the magic food of 
eternal life would kill him if he ate it. So he refused it and lost his 
chance to escape death forevermore. 1 

The biblical God also showed concern lest human beings should 
eat the food of eternal life (Genesis 3:22). God told Adam the same 
lie that the Babylonian god told Adamu: "Thou shalt not eat of it: for in 
the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). 
Adam ate, but he didn't die in the same day. On the contrary, he lived 
to the age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5). It was the serpent who told the 
truth about the controversial food: "Ye shall not surely die; for God 
doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be 
opened, and ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:4-5). 

l.Hooke.M.E.M., 57-58. 


Greek word for "brother," dating back to the matriarchal period 
when kinship was reckoned only through a mother. Its literal meaning is 
"one from the same womb." 1 
l.Briffault 1,405. 



Hindu Great Goddess as the Woman Clothed with the Sun, mother 
of all the lights of heaven. She gave birth to the twelve zodiacal 
spirits called Adityas, "Children of Aditi," among whom was Aryaman, 
the ancestral god of all "Aryans." ' See Sun Goddess. 

1 . O'Flaherty, 339; Mahanirvanatuntrx, x 1 . 

Magic Papyri 

Collections of 
exorcisms, invocations, 
charms, and spells 
widely circulated during 
the early Christian 
era, used as bases for 
later grimoires and 
Hermetic texts. 


Greek version of Semitic Adonai, "The Lord," a castrated and 
sacrificed savior-god whose love-death united him with Aphrodite, or 
Asherah, or Mari. In Jerusalem, his name was Tammuz. 

Adonis was born at Bethlehem, in the same sacred cave that 
Christians later claimed as the birthplace of Jesus. 1 He was the son of 
the Virgin Myrrha, a temple-woman or hierodule, identified with Mary 
by early Christians who called Jesus's mother Myrrh of the Sea. 2 
Myrrh was a symbol of the Lord's death, in both pagan and Christian 
traditions. He returned to his Great Mother, the sea, Aphrodite-Mari. 
Alexandrian priestesses celebrated the event by throwing the god's 
image into the sea. 3 

Syrian Adonis died at Easter time, with the flowering of the red 
anemone, supposedly created from his blood. Its name was derived 
from his title, Naaman, "darling." He was also called the Beautiful God, 
like other gods of the spring flowering, such as Narcissus, Antheus, 

Another form of the same god was Anchises, castrated after his 
mating with Aphrodite. Adonis, too, was castrated: "gored in the 
groin" by Aphrodite's boar-masked priest. His severed phallus became 
his "son," the ithyphallic god Priapus, identified with Eros in Greece 
or Osiris-Min in Egypt. Priapus carried a pruning knife in token of the 
Lord's necessary castration before new life could appear on earth. 4 

Castrating the god was likened to reaping the grain, which Adonis 
personified. His rebirth was a sprouting from the womb of the earth. 
Each year, sacred pots called kernos or "gardens of Adonis" were 
planted with wheat or millet, and allowed to sprout at Easter. The 
custom was followed in Mediterranean countries up to the present 
century. 5 The clay pot signified the womb. Sometimes in processions 
it was a gigantic kernos carried on a chariot, having the special name 
of kalanthos. 6 

Adonis died and rose again in periodic cycles, like all gods of 
vegetation and fertility. He was also identified with the sun that died 
and rose again in heaven. An Orphic hymn said of him: "Thou shining 
and vanishing in the beauteous circle of the Horae, dwelling at one 
time in gloomy Tartarus, at another elevating thyself to Olympus, 
giving ripeness to fruits." 7 He was buried in the same cave (womb) 
that gave him birth. It is now the Milk Grotto, whose dust is supposed to 


benefit nursing mothers; it was said Mary nursed Jesus there. 8 The Adultery 

Grotto was sealed as Jesus's sepulchre, for in the cults of both Jesus and Aeneas 

Adonis the virgin womb was the same as the virgin tomb, "wherein ^^^^^^^^^ 

never man before was laid" (Luke 23:53). 

The Magic Papyri said Jesus and Adonis also shared the same 
name-magic. "Adonai" was the highest god, having the True Name 
that could work miracles. 9 Centuries later, Christian authorities declared 
that "Adonai" was a demon. 

1. Doane, 155; Briffault 3, 97. 2. Ashe, 48. 3. Frazer, G.B., 390. 

4. Graves, G.M. 1, 69, 72. 5. Frazer, G.B., 400-401. 6. Briffault 3, 126 

7. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 286. 8. Budge, A.T., 319-20. 9. M. Smith 124 


From adalterum se conferre, "to confer (property) upon another." 1 
In the age of matrilineal inheritance, female property owners could 
leave cast-off husbands destitute by conferring their "matrimony" 
(wealth) upon another. Patriarchal societies therefore sought to insure 
wives' sexual fidelity for economic reasons. 2 

To this end, the Bible commands stoning to death an adulterous 
wife or a bride suspected of oremarital affairs (Deuteronomy 22:21). 
The latter rule was to invalicate the pagan custom of premarital 
defloration by a stranger, lest someone other than the husband might 
have a claim on the bride's property. 5 Hebrew patriarchs also considered 
"adulterous" a widow who might remarry "unto a stranger" outside 
the paternal clan. Widows were ordered to marry the brother of a 
deceased husband, so their property would remain under the control 
of male in-laws. This law of Levirate Marriage with its apparently divine 
sanction caused much trouble in later centuries. 

1. Brasch, 125. 2. Hartley, 165, 171. 3. Harding, 135. 


Goatskin breastplate of the Goddess Athene, ornamented with 
oracular serpents and the petrifying head of Medusa. The original 
Libyan Athene was herself the Gorgon mask surrounded by serpents, 
served by priestesses who wore the aegis as a goatskin apron. It was a 
badge of divine power. Later Homeric myths considered the aegis so 
essential to sovereignty that not even Zeus could rule the other gods 
without it. 


Son of Aphrodite, founder of Rome according to one version of the 
story. He saved the sacred fetish called Palladium from the sack of 


Aeon Troy, and carried it to the site of Rome, where it was installed in the 

Agape, Saint temple of Vesta. Like all sacred kings he visited the underworld, 

^^^^^^^^^^^ clutching the magic mistletoe branch that would insure his return to 
earth. 1 

1. Graves, W.G, 101. 


"The Year," title of any god annually sacrificed and reborn, such as 
the Savior born of the Virgin Kore at Alexandria every January. 1 The 
classic Aeon appears to have been based on Tantric worship of Shiva- 
Prajapati, who became a Lord of Death each year to bring about 
redemption of human life. According to the Aitareya Brahmana, 
"The Year is the same as Death; and whosoever knows this Year to be 
Death, his life that year does not destroy." 2 
1. Campbell, M.I., 34. 2. Eliade, M.E.R., 79. 


"Asians," the Norse gods led by Father Odin, who invaded the lands 
of the elder deities (Vanir). The Aesir came from Asaland, or Asaheimr, 
meaning both "land of gods" and "Asia." Some claimed their home 
city was Troy. Such myths record the recurrent western migrations of 
Indo-European or Aryan peoples. The Norse word for a god was 
Ass, "Asian." The Egyptian god Osiris was formerly Ausar, "the 
Asian." 2 Etruscans also called their ancestral deities Asians. 3 Phoeni- 
cian king Cadmus was "the Oriental," from kedem, "the Orient." 4 

The Asian invaders were aggressive. The Voluspa said war 
occurred "for the first time in the world" when the Aesir attacked the 
peace-loving people of the Goddess. 5 

1. Turville-Petre, 23. 2. Budge, G.E. 2, 1 13. 3. Keightley, 61. 4. Massa, 40. 
5. Dumezil, 71. 

Agape, Saint 

"Love Feast," first of Aphrodite's holy whores (Horae), was canon- 
ized as a Christian saint when icons of the Horae were re-labeled 
"virgin martyrs": Sts. Agape, Chione, and Irene. 1 Agape originally 
personified the rite of sexual communion, as practiced in Aphrodite's 
temples and adopted by some early Christian sects as a Tantric type 
of "spiritual marriage." By the 7th century a.d. the agape ceremony was 
declared heretical, but it continued secretly throughout the Middle 
Ages. 2 See Menstrual Blood. 

1. Attwater, 34. 2. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 23. 


Agatha, Saint Agatha, Saint 

"Kindly One," a spurious saint based on images of the lactating A gnes, Saint 

Goddess offering bared breasts in the usual Ishtar pose. As a fictitious p 

"virgin martyr," Agatha refused to marry the king of Sicily, who 

vengefully ordered her breasts sliced off. Early Christian icons showed 

her carrying them on a patera (offering dish) as St. Lucy carried her 

eyeballs. 1 Later, the amputated breasts were misinterpreted as bells; so 

Agatha became patroness of bell founders. 2 Her legend may have 

arisen from the Christian habit of knockingthe breasts off statues of 

priestesses and Goddesses. 3 

The original Agatha was surnamed Tyche (Fate), and worshipped 
at the subterranean womb-oracle of Trophonios at Lebadeia. 4 Like 
the Goddess of the similar womb-oracle at Delphi, she was accompa- 
nied by a Great Serpent: the oracular spirit named Agathodemon, 
god of Kindly Fortune, worshipped by Orphic sects up to the 5th and 
6th centuries a.d. Far from tormenting Agatha as her Christian 
legend claimed, Sicilian kings won their thrones by way of a sacred 
marriage with her. Many of these kings took the name of Agathocles, 
"Glory of Agatha," just as Heracles called himself "Glory of Hera." 5 

The Golden Legend conferred on St. Agatha the curious title of 
Savior of Her Country, saying "She accomplished the deliverance of 
her native land." 6 This probably referred to votive images of the 
Goddess which were supposed to preserve the land from all external 

1. Brewster, 95. 2. Attwater, 34. 3 . Lamusse, 2\\ . 4. Guthrie, 225. 
5. d'Alviella, 20. 6. de Voragine, 161. 

Agnes, Saint 

Scholars say "next to the Evangelists and Apostles there is no saint 
whose effigy is older" than the popular St. Agnes. 1 Indeed, she seems to 
have been much older than evangelists and apostles: a Roman-Jewish 
version of the Holy Ewe Lamb (Agna), virgin incarnation of the Ewe- 
goddess Rachel. 

Like the virgin Mary, Agnes came from "immaculate" parents. 
The Portiforium ad usam Sarum said her mother was a virgin, her 
father a purified soul who renounced sexual love. 2 Like all the legend- 
ary virgin-martyrs, Agnes was slain because she renounced the love 
of a pagan youth. However, her true nature as an orgiastic priestess- 
heroine might be guessed from her ineradicable connections with 
love and marriage. A priest became her bridegroom by placing a 
wedding ring on the finger of her statue, as if it were the statue of 
Aphrodite-Galatea. 3 Bollandus's Acts of the Saints said Agnes founded 
her nunnery in a house of sacred prostitutes, like priestesses of 
Aphrodite-Salacia. 4 All the way up to the present century, St. Agnes's 
Eve was the traditional time for girls to divine the names of their 
future lovers by means of magic mirrors. 5 


Agni Unfortunately for St. Agnes's credibility, she is said to have suf- 

Ahriman fered in the reign of Constantine when Christians were not 

^ wmgn persecuted. It was also falsely claimed that Agnes cured Constantine's 
daughter of leprosy. Roman Jews were said to have worshipped her in 
a church on the Via Nomentana, built in her honor in 350 a.d.; but 
Roman Jews didn't worship Christian saints, and no churches were 
built in honor of female martyrs in 350 a.d. 6 Roman Jews probably did, 
however, worship at least one version of Agna the Holy Lamb. 

Though Catholic scholars now say Agnes's legends have been 
found "disappointingly" devoid of truth, her relics are still preserved 
in Rome and constantly adored by the faithful. 7 

1. Brewster, 76. 2. Hazlitt, 2-3. 3. de Voragine, 113. 4. Seligmann, 157. 
5. Brewster, 75. 6. de Voragine, 112. 7. Attwater, 35. 


Vedic fire god wedded to Kali under her name of Ambika, "Little 
Mother." She represented the primal ocean of blood from which all 
things arose at creation; he represented the fructifying fire from 
heaven (lightning); their combination meant vital heat. Vedic sages said 
the soul of all the universe, moving and still, is made of a combination 
of blood and fire. Agni also appeared to consume sacrifices that were 
burned on their altars. He was a prototype of such Indo-European 
fire-bringers as Lucifer, Prometheus, Etana, Hephaestus, and Heracles. 1 
1.0'Flaherty,97, 148,339. 


Great Serpent, Lord of Darkness, and rival of the sun god in Persian 
myth; leader of the daevas, whom Zoroastrians called devils, though the 
original Indo-Iranian word meant "gods." 1 (See Serpent.) 

The story of Ahriman's revolt against his twin brother, the Heav- 
enly Father, of their war in heaven, and of the daevas'faW to the 
underworld, gave western Europe its basic myth of the fall of Lucifer, 
and its dualistic division of the universe between forces of good and 
evil. Persian prophets predicted the defeat of Ahriman and his dark 
angels during the final battle at the end of the world, and Judeo- 
Christian prophets adopted the same idea. As the Serpent, Ahriman also 
tempted the first man and woman. 

But Ahriman was not considered inferior to the Heavenly Father. 
On the contrary, they were twins, born simultaneously from the 
womb of the primal Crone of Time (Zurvan). Ahriman's influence on 
earth was greater than his celestial brother's, because he created the 
material world. Persian Magi regarded him as the source of their magic 
power, and offered sacrifices to him. Mithraic shrines from Budapest 


to York were dedicated to "Arimanius" as the underground god of 
magic arts. 2 

Ahriman was not originally Persian. He was the Vedic god 
Aryaman, maker of "Aryans" the people he created of clay. 
Aryaman was one of the twelve zodiacal sons of the Goddess Aditi. 3 
He also had a Celtic incarnation, as the divine king Eremon. 

l.Lamusse, 317. 2. Legge 2, 239. 3. O'Flaherty, 339. 

Ahura Mazda 

Ahura Mazda 

Persian sun god born as the twin brother of the dark god Ahriman 
from the womb of Infinite Time, the Primal Creatress. The fight 
between the brothers, resulting in Ahriman's fall from heaven, had 
the same cause as the rivalry between Cain and Abel that is, the 
sacrificial offering of one was accepted by the older deity; that of the 
other was rejected. The older deity was Vayu, probably a derivative of 
the Vedic celestial androgyne Varuna, or Mitra-Varuna, whose other 
name became "Mithra". 

The story of the battle and the fall might have been a revision of 
the ancient creation myth concerning the Goddess's punishment of 
her first-created serpent-consort for his hubris. 1 The name Ahura was 
once a feminine name. 2 

Middle Persian forms of the name were Ormazd, Ormizd, or 
Hormizd. These names were commonly taken by kings who embod- 
ied the god's solar spirit, especially kings of the Iranian Sassanian 
dynasty. 3 Being naturally deified after death, such kings had cult 
centers and groups of priests who kept up their worship. One of these 
apparently became converted to Christianity and contributed another 
apocryphal saint to the Christian canon, usually misspelled "St. Hor- 
midz," though Hormizd was obviously meant. This saint was vaguely 
placed in the 5th century a.d. and declared a Persian martyr, though his 
legend lacked every kind of foundation, even that of common sense. 
It was claimed that, for a refusal to renounce Christianity, St. Hormidz 
was condemned to serve as a military camel-driver which may not 
have been precisely a life of luxury, but hardly qualified as martyrdom. 4 
This sun-god-turned-saint was revered through the early Middle 
Ages by cult centers located in Persia and Iraq. 

1. Graves, G.M. 1, 27. 2. Budge, E.M., 144. 3. Encyc. Brit., "Ormizd." 
4. Atrwater, p. 173. 


Eponymous ancestral Goddess of Akkad, called the Old Woman, the 
Grandmother, or the Midwife. She was the "Water-drawer" who 
brought gods to birth out of the primal deep the feminine prototype 

var. Ormazd, 
Ormizd, Hormizd 


Aladdin of Aquarius. A similar Central-American Goddess figure had curiously 

similar names, Acat or Akna. 1 

^^^^^^^^^^^ Akka had many related names. Greeks called her Acco or Acca, 

"She Who Fashions." 2 To Lapps and Finns in northern Europe, she 
was Mader-Akka Mother Akka who created humanity. 3 To Ro- 
mans, she was Acca Larentia, or Acca the mother of the Lares, which 
were archaic ancestral spirits left over from pre-Roman Latium. 

Acca Larentia was variously called the first Vestal Virgin, or a 
temple prostitute, or a rich courtesan, or a virgin bride of God roles 
that may seem mutually contradictory but were not so (see Prostitu- 
tion; Vestal Virgins). As the divine midwife, she helped Rhea Silvia 
give birth to Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. She drew the 
divine twins out of their floating basket on the river Tiber, just as 
Akka of Akkad drew Sargon out of his floating basket on the river Tigris, 
and "Pharaoh's daughter" drew Moses from the Nile. 

Acca Larentia was honored every year at the Roman festival of the 
Larentalia. She was assimilated to the cult of Heracles, who became 
one of her husbands. In his Roman temple, Heracles was mated to 
"Acca, the Maker." 4 

1. Lamusse, 439. 2. Graves, CM. 2, 190. 3. Larousse, 306. 4. Graves, G.M. 2, 190. 


Marco Polo described Aladdin quite differently from his mythic 
portrait in the Arabian Nights. As the fairy tale said, he was master of a 
secret cave of treasures, but the cave was real. It was located in the 
fortified valley of Alamut near Kazvin, headquarters of the fanatical 
brotherhood of hashish im or "hashish-takers," which Christians mis- 
pronounced "assassins." 

Aladdin was an Old Man of the Mountain, hereditary title of the 
chief of hashishim, beginning with a Shi'ite leader Hasan ibn al- 
Sabbah, whose name meant Son of the Goddess (see Arabia). The later 
name of Aladdin was taken by several chieftains. In 1297 the region 
of Gujarat was conquered by a warrior called the Bloody One, 
Ala-ud-den. 1 

By means of drugs and an elaborate "paradise" staffed by human 
Houris, initiates into the brotherhood were persuaded that they died 
and went to heaven, or Fairyland, where gardens and palaces occupied 
the valley of the secret cave. Special conduits flowed with the Four 
Rivers of Paradise: water, wine, milk, and honey. Each candidate was 
drugged into a stupor, then woke and "perceived himself surrounded 
by lovely damsels, singing, playing, and attracting his regards by the 
most fascinating caresses, serving him also with delicate foods and 
exquisite wines; until intoxicated with excess of enjoyment amidst actual 


rivulets of milk and wine, he believed himself assuredly in Paradise, Alako 

and felt an unwillingness to relinquish its delights." 2 Alani 

After this period of bliss, the warrior was again drugged and taken ^^^^^^^^^^ 
out of the secret place, to fight in the service of the Old Man of the 
Mountain. He fought fearlessly, in the belief that death in battle would 
instantly carry him back to that heaven cleverly made real for him. 
Promises of sexual bliss were the real key to the ferocity of Islamic 
armies. The Koran said each hero who died in battle would achieve 
an eternity of pleasure among heavenly Houris with "big, beautiful, 
lustrous eyes." 3 

Aladdin's sect worshipped the moon as a symbol of the Goddess, 
like the Vessel of Light associated with both the virgin Mary and the 
Holy Grail in western Europe. 4 Eastern poets said the Vessel of Light 
produced djinn, "spirits of ancestors." This Vessel was simultaneous- 
ly Aladdin's lamp, source of djinni (a genie), and the moon, source of all 
souls according to the most ancient beliefs. The moon was the realm 
of the dead, and also the realm of rebirth since all souls were recycled 
through many revolutions of the wheels of Fate. The divine Houris 
also dwelt in the moon, which probably was the light of Aladdin's secret 
cave. See Moon. 

The Arabian Nights gave the password to Aladdin's cave: Open, 
Sesame. This was related to Egyptian seshemu, "sexual intercourse." 
The hieroglyphic sign of seshemu was a penis inserted into an arched 
yoni-symbol. 5 Every ancient culture used some form of sexual 
symbolism for the idea of man-entering-paradise. 

l.Zimmer ( 54. 2. Polo 53-54. 3. Campbell, Oc. M, 430. 4. Wilkins, 58. 
5. Budge, E.L., 58. 


Gypsy "son of God" who takes the souls of gypsies to the moon after 
death. Gypsies said Alako had two enemies: the devil, and Christ. 1 

1. Trigg, 202. 


"Hunting dogs," Greek name for the Scythian tribes who wor- 
shipped Artemis as their Divine Huntress. The name Alan still carried 
the original Greek meaning of a hunting dog when it became popular 
among the Scots during the Middle Ages. Artemis was often called the 
Great Bitch, and her hunting priestesses were the "sacred bitches" 
who chased, killed, and consumed boar-gods and stag-gods like Phorcis 
or Actaeon. Thus, to Christians, "son of a bitch" meant a devil 
worshipper that is, a pagan devotee of the Goddess. See Dog. 


Alban, Saint Alban, Saint 

Alchemy Fictitious saint called "protomartyr of England," allegedly the first 

mmmmtammmatmm Christian martyr in the British isles, slain on Holmhurst Hill in 287 a.d. 
However, no writer made any reference to him until two hundred 
years later. Gildas finally developed St. Alban's legend in the 6th 
century, with some confusion of dates. He claimed St. Alban shel- 
tered a Christian fleeing from Diocletian's persecution, twenty years 
before Diocletian's persecution began. 1 

The real origin of St. Alban probably was nothing more than the 
British Goddess's title of Albion, "White Moon." Her shrine at 
Holmhurst Hill had a sacred fountain, always shown between the feet of 
"Alban" in Christian art. 2 In Bede's day the place was still holy, and 
someone had to invent a Christianized and preferably masculinized 
legend for it. 

l.Attwater, 37. 2. Brewster, 293. 


King of the underworld in Teutonic myth, identified with the Saxon 
fairy-king Oberon. Alberich appeared in the Nibelungenlied as a chtho- 
nian dwarf master-smith, guardian of the Rhinemaidens' buried 
treasure. Like most versions of the demonic fairy king, he was a shape- 
shifter, appearing in such typically diabolic disguises as a toad and a 
serpent. He is still familiar to opera fans as a character in Wagner's Ring 
of the Nibelung. 


In Arabic, alchemy meant "matter of Egypt," Al-Khemeia, from 
Khemennu, "Land of the Moon," an old name for Egypt. 1 The Arabs 
thought alchemy was invented by Egyptians. Christians learned it 
from the Arabs and believed it was invented by Thoth, or Hermes, or 
the virgin Mary. 2 

"Mary the Jewess" was said to have been the first great alchemist. 
She discovered distillation of alcohol in the time of the Caliphate, and 
invented the double boiler, still called bain-marie (Mary's bath) in 
France. During the Renaissance some female alchemists were perse- 
cuted as witches. Julius, Duke of Brunswick, roasted one of them alive 
in an iron chair in 1 575, because she could not tell him how to make 
gold out of base metal. 3 

As a system of mysticism, alchemy was permeated by sexual 
symbols. So-called "copulations" and "marriages" figured in alchem- 
ical procedures. Sexual drawings enlivened the texts. The Alchemical 
Rebus was the usual bisexual image of male and female powers in 
union, "a Hermaphrodite, born of two mountains, Mercury and 


Venus." Sun and moon were shown as naked male and female Alchemy 

figures, the moon saying to her spouse, "O Sun, thou dost nothing 

alone if I am not present with my strength, as a cock is helpless - - 

without a hen." 4 

Alchemists sought the divine female power Sapientia, or Sophia 
(Wisdom), the Gnostics' Great Mother. Valentin's L'Azoth des 
philosophes showed her as a crowned, fish-tailed Aphrodite rising from 
the sea, spouting streams of milk and blood from her breasts. This 
was a direct copy of Hindu representations of the virgin Maya, mother 
of the world. 5 Alchemists called her the Siren of the Philosophers, 
"born of our deep Sea (Maria), who pours milk and blood from her 
paps." 6 

An Italian manuscript showed two bearded sages avidly sucking 
her breasts, to absorb the secrets symbolized by her colors, milk white 
and blood red. 7 The same colors appeared on the Flower of the 
Alchemists, a five-petaled red-and-white rose, sometimes called the 
womb of the FiJium philosophorum or Glorious Child. The same rose 
symbolized the virgin Mary. 8 

Mary-Sophia was the Goddess of both Gnosticism and alchemy. 
The Philosopher's Stone was sometimes called the Sophistical 
Stone. 9 Alchemical writings called the hidden Goddess the Mother of 
Wisdom, combining elements of the Madonna with those of the 
pagan mother-image: 

lam the flower of the fleldand the lily of the valleys. lam the mother of 
fair love and of fear and of knowledge and of holy hope. . .lam the 
mediator of the elements. . . . lam the law in the priest and the word in 
the prophet and the counsel in the wise. I will kill and I will make to 
live and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. 10 

Since the ancient Great Mother was represented by a Holy 
Vase, alchemists sought the vas hermeticum (Womb of Hermes), which 
resembled the vas spirituale identified with the virgin Mary. Arab 
alchemists adopted the rosary from Far-Eastern cults of the Goddess, 
whose rosary-symbol was a vase-shaped bead, from which the other 
beads were said to "spring up." Rosaries dedicated to Mary also had the 
vase-shaped bead. Arabs called the rosary wardija, "rose-garden," 
copying the Hindu japamala, "rose-chaplet," the necklace of Kali Ma, 
who ruled the elements as alchemists also hoped to do. A Diirer 
drawing of 1 506 shows a turbanned Arab alchemist with his rosary at his 
belt. 11 

Many alchemical texts presented obvious sexual allegories, e.g. 
from the Turba Philosophorum: "Take the white tree, build him a 
round, dark, dew-encircled house, and set in it a hundred-year-old man 
and close it so that no wind or dust can get to him; then leave him 
there eight days. I tell you that that man will not cease to eat of the fruit 
of that tree till he becomes a youth. O what a wonderful nature, for 
here is the father become son and born again." 12 

Similar allegorical references to the mysteries of reproduction were 


Alchemy common among Chinese alchemists, who spoke of attaining "longev- 

ity through liquid gold," by "a red sulphurous ingredient in 

^^^^^^^^^^^ goldmaking" the male and female essences in Taoist and Tantric 
symbolism (see Menstrual Blood). One text said: 

/ must diligently plant my own field. There is within it a spiritual germ 
that may live a thousand years. Its flower is like yellow gold. Its bud is 
not large, but its seeds are round and like unto a spotless gem [i.e., the 
Jewel in the Lotus]. Its growth depends upon the soil of the central 
place [womb], but its irrigation must proceed from a higher fountain. Alter 
nine years [or, months] of cultivation, root and branch may be trans- 
planted to the heaven of the higher genii. n 

Churchmen were baffled by alchemical language, and usually 
let practitioners of this particular "devilish art" alone, unless they were 
women. Yet the official opposition to the whole science kept many of 
the best minds away from it, thus helping to retard the development of 
modern chemistry out of alchemical experimentation. 14 

The deep secrecy of the alchemists' operations still puzzles many 
modern scholars. Carl Jung wondered why these chemical processes 
had to be disguised and distorted by thickets of mythological symbolism; 
or, if a mystical sort of enlightenment was being described, why it was 
tied to laboratory procedures. 15 The answer could be found in the 
alchemists' political environment. "Natural science" was often de- 
fined as heresy by the church. In periods when the Inquisition was 
active, almost anyone meddling with such matters was at risk. The 
best defense was deliberately obscure allegorization, in which theologi- 
cal principles if any could be hidden. 

Some of the secret is given away by the preponderance of sexual 
symbols in alchemical literature. "Copulation of Athene and Her- 
mes" might mean mixing sulfur and mercury in a retort; or it might 
mean a sexual "working" of the alchemist and his lady-love. Illustra- 
tions in alchemical books suggested sexual mysticism more often than 
not. Adam and Eve were shown as naked lovers, halves of the Primal 
Androgyne. Adam was pictured as incomplete male, who had to be 
pierced by the Arrow of Mercurius to stimulate his passionate desire 
for Wisdom. After this, his phallus bloomed into the flowering Tree of 
Life, signifying that he was ready for full union with a Goddess-like 
Eve, who would make him complete. 16 

Mercurius or Hermes was the alchemical hero who fertilized 
the Holy Vase, a womb-like sphere or egg from which the films 
philosophorum was to be born. This vessel may have been real, a 
laboratory flask or retort; more often, it seemed to be a mystical 
symbol. 17 The Royal Diadem of its offspring was said to appear in 
menstruo meretricis, "in the menstrual blood of a whore," who may 
have been the Great Whore, an ancient epithet of the Goddess. Her 
menstrual blood curdled in her womb to create the universe, including 


its metals, minerals, and other raw materials of alchemy. The Rosar- Alchemy 

ium Phibsophorum (Rosary of the Philosophers) said the soul of the 

world is made of male and female "matters": Anima est Sol et Luna. ^^^^^^^^^ 

Similarly a human soul was produced by male and female parents. 

Sexual mystics held a theory that every individual person or thing had 

but half a soul, which must find its other half in the opposite sex. 18 

At times the alchemists appeared to be seeking a lost deity, like the 
cabalists' Shekina: the Mother {mater) sleeping in the material matter 
of the world, having been separated from the God whose other half she 
was. Alchemists usually rejected the church's teaching that matter 
was "evil" or "fallen." As Gnostic animists they thought the "savior" 
destined to emerge from the alchemical matrix (mother-womb) was 
both an anthropomorphic Glorious Child or Hlius macrocosmi, and a 
"miraculous stone" or Philosopher's Stone, possessing corpus, anima, 
spiritus, the "redeemer" of the inanimate universe. 19 As an enlightened 
mystic the alchemist hoped to attend the birth of this strange being, 
who would teach him to transform base metals into gold, as eastern 
yogis were said to do when they were sufficiently enlightened. 

One reason why the church opposed alchemy and identified it 
with black magic was that many alchemical texts offered greater 
revelations, more simply achieved, than the Bible or the pulpit could 
offer, and thus took on the character of a rival. For example, the 
Abtala Jurain (1732) presented the whole creation: 

Take of common rainwater a good quantity, at least ten quarts; preserve it 
well sealed in glass vessels for at least ten days, then it will deposit 
matter and feces on the bottom. Pour off the clear liquid and place it in a 
wooden vessel that is fashioned round like a ball; cut it in the middle 
and Hll the vessel a third full, and set it in the sun about midday in a secret 
or secluded spot. 

When this has been done, take a drop of the consecrated red wine 
and let it fall into the water, and you will instantly perceive a fog and a 
thick darkness on top of the water, such as also was at the first creation. 
Then put in two drops, and you will see the light coming forth from the 
darkness; whereupon little by little put in every half of each quarter hour 
first three, then four, then live, then six, drops, and no more, and you 
will see with your own eyes one thing after another appearing by and by 
on top of the water, how God created all things in six days, and how it 
all came to pass, and such secrets as are not to be spoken aloud and I also 
have not power to reveal. Pall on your knees before you undertake this 
operation. Let your eyes judge of it; for thus was the world created. Let all 
stand as it is, and in half an hour after it began it will disappear. 

By this you will see clearly the secrets of God, that are at present 
hidden from you as from a child. You will understand what Moses has 
written concerning the creation; you will see what manner of body Adam 
and Eve had before and after the Fall, what the serpent was, what the 
tree, and what manner of fruits they ate; where and what Paradise is, and 
in what bodies the righteous shall be resurrected; not in this body that 


Alcmene we have received from Adam, but in that which we attain through the 

Allah Holy Ghost, namely in such body as our Savior brought from 

^^_^^__^_^_ Heaven. 20 

1. Budge, E.M., 20. 2. Ashe, 213. 3. de Camp, S.S.S., 143, 147. 

4. Shumaker, 178, 183. 5. Goldberg, 101. 6. de Givry, 361. 

7. Neumann, G.M., pi. 174. 8. Campbell, M.I., 254. 9. Shah, 194. 

10.Jung,M.H.S., 186. 11. Wilkins,44, 50, 56, 58. 12. Silberer, 258. 

13. Shah, 201-2. 14. Castiglioni, 286. 15. Campbell, CM., 268. 

16. Campbell, M.I., 258. 17. Campbell, CM., 273. 18. Campbell, CM., 289, 295. 

19. Campbell, CM., 271-72. 20. Campbell, CM. 268-69. 


"Power of the Moon," virgin mother of the solar Savior, Heracles. 
She was the Greek form of the Hebrew almah, "moon-woman," who 
mothered sacred kings in the Jerusalem cult, and whose title was 
bestowed on the virgin Mary. 2 Parallels between earlier myths of 
Alcmene and later myths of Mary were too numerous to be coinci- 
dental. Alcmene's husband refrained from sexual relations with her until 
her god-begotten child was born. The couple went on a journey "so 
that the child has a birth place which is pot his parents' home." 3 
Heracles also grew up to die a sacrificial death, after which he visited 
the underworld and harrowed it, then rose to heaven to be assimilated to 
his divine Father and to marry the Goddess's virgin aspect all over 
again, to beget himself anew. 

1. Knight, S.L., 98. 2. Brasch, 25. 3. H. Smith, 183. 


She Who May Not Be Named, one of Demeter's triad of Furies, 
who supported the ancient laws of the Goddess by punishing 


Late Islamic masculinization of the Arabian Goddess, Al-Lat or Al- 
Ilat the Allatu of the Babylonians formerly worshipped at the Kaaba 
in Mecca. It has been shown that "the Allah of Islam" was a male 
transformation of "the primitive lunar deity of Arabia." 1 Her ancient 
symbol the crescent moon still appears on Islamic flags, even though 
modern Moslems no longer admit any feminine symbolism whatever 
connected with the wholly patriarchal Allah. See Arabia. 

l.Briffault3, 106. 


Alleluia Alleluia 

Medieval Christian version of an international word for the funeral ^^ 

keening that announced a sacred king's passage to the land of death, in mmmihhh^ 

ancient religious dramas. It was called the "howl," or ululation. The 

Akkadian god Alalu was a direct anthropomorphization of the liturgical 

cry. It was houloi in Greek, uluktus in Latin, hulluloo or hulla-baloo 

in Old Irish. 1 Herodotus said the "howlings in the temple" were derived 

from the cult of Athene in Libya, where "the women do it very 

well." 2 

Alleluia was used as a battle cry in the Middle Ages, and credited 
with powerful victory-magic. The legend of St. Germain describes its 
use in a battle between Saxons and Britons. As the cry of the god 
Pan was supposed to cause "pan-ic" in his enemies, so the sound of 
alleluia was thought to kill the enemy's fighting spirit. 3 

l.Hazlitt, 341. 2. Herodotus, 270. 3. de Voragine, 399. 

Alma Mater 

"Soul-Mother," a Roman teaching priestess, especially one empow- 
ered to give instruction in the sexual Mysteries. (See Cowrie). The 
name was based on Al-Mah, a Middle-Eastern name of the Moon- 
goddess, also a title of her temple women, almah the same word that 
described the virgin Mary in the Hebrew versions of the Gospels. 1 
The priestess called alma materbore a relationship to the male initiate 
similar to that of the Tantric Shakti. 

l.Brasch, 25. 


See Motherhood. 


The custom of burying relics of saints under an altar began with a 
misunderstanding of the scripture, "I saw under the altar the souls of 
them that were slain for the word of God" (Revelation 6:9). This was 
based on a pagan teaching, that the souls of the enlightened became 
stars in heaven. Those recently deceased stood on the border of the 
sky, under the constellation of the Altar, which lies close to the horizon 
as seen from Mediterranean latitudes. 1 

The Altar was a feminine constellation because the earliest altars 
were modeled on the maternal hearth, and altars symbolized the 
Mother. The Earth's regenerative womb was often represented as an 



altar, which explains why "witch cults" were said to make an altar of 
the belly of a living woman. The Heavenly Virgin was also an altar, Ara 
Coeli, "Altar of Heaven," she who received the souls of the dead. 
Christians adopted this symbolism from the virgin Mary. One of the 
Nativity legends claimed the Cumaean Sybil showed Augustus a 
vision of Mary, saying, "This woman is the Altar of Heaven." A church 
was built on the spot, and named Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. 2 

1 . Rose, 289. 2. de Voragine, 49. 


"Powerful One," title of the Arabic Goddess as founding mother of 
Mohammed's tribe, the Koreshites, hereditary tenders of her sacred 
stone in Mecca. 1 See Arabia. 



"Beloved," the title of a Vestal Virgin as a Bride of God that is, 
bride of the spirit of Rome manifested in the phallic Palladium. 1 The 
title was copied by Christian nuns who called themselves Brides of 

1. Graves, W.G., 395. 

Gaius Tranquillus 
Suetonius Roman 
biographer and 
historian, ca. 70- 


Herodotus Greek 
historian of the 5th 
century B.C. 


Greek name for Goddess-worshipping tribes in north Africa, Anato- 
lia, and the Black Sea area. 1 Due to an erroneous belief that Amazon 
warriors destroyed the right breast to be unhindered in drawing the 
bow, some derived the name from a-mazos, "breastless." But Greek rep- 
resentations of Amazons showed no such mutilation. The idea may 
have arisen from Asiatic icons of the Primal Androgyne with a 
male right half and female left half, echoed by a coalescence of the 
Amazon Goddess Artemis with her brother-consort Apollo. Scholars 
now say the word Amazon meant "moon-woman." 2 

Suetonius said, "Amazons once ruled over a large part of Asia." As 
late as the 5th century a.d., the Black Sea was still known as the 
Amazon Sea.* Libya which used to mean all of North Africa except 
Egypt was also Amazonian. Herodotus spoke of Libyan Amazons. 
Diodorus, first century Greek historian, called them "the warlike 
women of Libya." To this day, north African Berbers call themselves 
Amazigh, though their common name came from Latin barbari, 
"barbarians." 4 

The ancients said Amazons were the first to tame horses, which 


may well account for their armies' legendary invincibility. 5 In open 
country, mounted troops whether male or female would have a decided 
advantage over foot soldiers. 

In Amazonian myths, the Goddess was often worshipped as a 
mare: India's mare-mother Saranyu, mare-headed Demeter, or 
Cretan Leukippe the "White Mare," whose priests were castrated and 
wore female dress. 6 Among Scythians also, men entered the service 
of the Goddess by castrating themselves and adopting women's cloth- 
ing. The only deity shown in Scythian art was the Great Goddess, 
whom the Greeks called Artemis, or Hestia, or Gaea (the Earth). 7 
Some of the Scythians settled in Parthia, "Virginland," named after 
their Goddess. They came to be known as Sacae, and their chief city 
was Sacastene, now Seistan. 8 

Scythians were governed by priestess-queens, usually buried alone 
in richly furnished kurgans (queen-graves). Five kurganswere discov- 
ered together at Pasyryk in southern Russia in 1954. Scythian 
priestesses were elder women, old enough to have gray hair. They 
performed traditional sacrifices, catching the blood in sacred cauldrons 
and taking omens from the entrails. They also accompanied their 
armies into battle, to cast spells for victory. 9 

The moon-sickle used in mythical castrations of gods was a 
Scythian weapon. A long-handled form therefore came to be called a 
scythe, and was assigned to the Grim Reaper, who was originally Rhea 
Kronia in the guise of Mother Time, or Mother Death the Earth 
who devoured her own children. Scythian women apparently used such 
weapons in battle as well as in religious ceremonies and agriculture. 
Diodorus said Scythian women "fight like the men and are nowise 
inferior to them in bravery." 10 A Scythian girl was allowed to marry 
only after she had killed three enemies in battle. 11 

It wasn't unusual for barbarian armies to include women. Femi- 
nine magic power was often considered necessary for victory. The 
Bible says Barak commanded an army of 10,000 men, but refused to go 
into battle unless the priestess-queen Deborah went along, to cast 
victory spells for him (Judges 4:8). Tacitus told of druidic forces 
repelling Roman invaders on the island of Mona (Moon) in 61 a.d.: 
among the soldiers, black-clad women waved swords and cursed the 
enemy "like the Furies." 12 

Greek myth says Amazon tribes occupied Cappadocia, Samo- 
thrace, and Lesbos, and founded the cities of Smyrna, Ephesus, 
Cymes, Myrine, and Paphos all leading centers of Goddess-worship. 
Amazons came to the aid of matriarchal Troy in the Trojan War. 
The Amazon queen Penthesileia fell beneath the sword of Achilles, 
who immediately violated her dead body. Homer attributed this 
necrophilic act to Achilles's love of her beautiful corpse. More likely, it 
was a magic charm to immobilize her vengeful spirit. Greeks feared 
the ghosts of slain Amazons. They called them Beautiful Ones, built 


Cornelius Tacitus 

Roman historian 
and rhetorician, ca. 
56-120 a.d. 



Lebor Gabala 
Erenn, also called the 
Book of Conquests: 
early-medieval Irish 
history, purporting to 
trace the origins of 
the Irish tribes back to 
the time of Adam. 

shrines to them, and offered them propitiatory sacrifices for centuries 
after the war. 13 

Theseus, king of Attica, violated the Amazons' law of matrilocal 
marriage by kidnapping their queen, variously named Hippolyta, 
Antiope, or Melanippe (Black Mare). Some said Antiope was the sister 
of Hippolyta. The former was slain by Theseus, the latter by 
Heracles, who wished to steal her magic girdle. Enraged, the Amazons 
invaded Greece, ravaged coastal towns, and besieged Athens. 14 
Amazons and Greeks became hereditary enemies. A later Amazon 
queen named Artemisia (Spirit of Artemis) joined Xerxes to fight the 
Greeks at the battle of Salamis in 480 b.c. not because she loved 
Persians, but because she hated Greeks. 15 

Greek myths mention several Islands of Women, where Amazons 
lived without men, only consorting with neighboring colonies of 
males at certain seasons when they wanted to conceive their children. 
Taurus, Lemnos, and Lesbos were said to be such all-female societ- 
ies. The Greeks apparently feared them. They said the women of 
Taurus sacrificed to their Goddess all men who landed on their 
shores; and the women of Lemnos had risen up against their husbands 
and murdered all of them at once. 16 The Greek writers seemed to 
have no doubt that women could destroy whole populations of adult 
males, and there was no effective defense against them. 

Northern Europe had mythical Amazons: the Valkyries, warrior- 
maidens of Valhalla. There were also real Amazons among the 
Vikings: female captains and war-chieftainesses. 17 In the 10th century 
a.d. a Norwegian fleet invaded Ireland and devastated Ulster and the 
northeast, under the command of a warrior queen called the Red 
Maiden. 18 Another warrior queen, Olga, was one of the first rulers of 
Kiev. 19 Medieval historians said Amazons ruled the city of Ulm from 
before the time of Abraham to the time of Alexander the Great. The 
city was named for the sacred elms (ulmae) of the grove where they 
worshipped Diana-Artemis. 20 

Again and again, legends mention the women's magic battle-cries, 
which made their enemies helpless. The Valkyrie Kara deprived her 
enemies of power to wield their weapons by the sound of her voice. 21 A 
Celtic Valkyrie, Nemhain, cursed Cu Chulainn's warriors and made 
a hundred of them drop dead on the spot. 22 

The Lebor Gabala Erenn Book of the Taking of Ireland said 
the very first expedition of colonists to Ireland was led by a woman. 23 
Ireland had female soldiers up to the 7th century a.d., when Christian 
legal reforms forbade women to bear arms. 24 The tradition persisted 
in connection with weddings. A bride's costume up to the 17th century 
included a knife at the belt. 25 But after the 9th century, female 
warriors in Celtic lands were labeled "witches." 26 In the Amazons' 
territory around the Black Sea, women retained certain Amazon 


customs up to the 18th century: dressing in men's clothes, riding Ambrosia 

horseback astride, and fighting beside the men in war. 27 Amphitrite 

1. Lederer, 103. 2. Graves, G.M. 2, 379. 3. Sobol, 153, 155. 4. Wendt, 52, 66. ^^^^^^^^^^ 

5. Lederer, 103. 6. Gaster, 316. 7. Encyc. Brit, "Amazons." 8. Thomson 174 ^^^^^m^^^^^m 

9. Wendt, 116, 137. 10. Briffault 1,456. 11. Knight, S.L., 33 

12. Pepper & Wilcock, 216. 13. Graves, G.M. 2, 313; Larousse, 122. 

14. Graves, G.M. 2, 126. 15. Encyc. Brit, "Artemisia." 16. Graves, G.M. 2 224 

17. Oxenstiema, 208. 18. Briffault 1, 457. 19. Larousse, 294. 

20. Borchardt, 104. 21. Larousse, 279. 22. MacCana, 90. 23. Rees, 28. 

24.dePaor, 1 09; Joyce, 84. 25. Hazlitt, 75. 26. Boulding, 319. 27.Spretnak, 106. 


"Supernatural red wine" of Mother Hera, which gave the Greek 
gods immortality. 1 In the Vedas it was soma, in Persia haoma, in Egypt 
sa: always associated with the moon and the maternal "blood of life," 
i.e., menstrual blood. 2 Merlin's older name of Ambrosius suggests a 
link with such pagan symbols of immortality achieved through 
association with life-giving feminine blood. See Merlin; Thomas 

1. Graves, G.M. 1, 1 18. 2. Budge, G.E. 2, 298; Hartley, 231. 


Magic word interpreted as "let it be" in Hebrew, used to evoke divine 
response to a prayer. Such words often began as deities' names. This 
may have originally invoked the Egyptian god Amen, "the Hidden 
One" the sun in the belly of his Mother before his rebirth at sunrise. 
Its hieroglyphic symbol meant a pregnant belly. 1 

1. Book of the Dead, 194. 


Norse Grandmother-Goddess who gave birth to the race of karls 
(freemen); perhaps derived from Ama, a basic name of the Great 
Goddess in Mesopotamia and the east. 1 See Caste. 

l.Turville-Petre, 147. 


"All-encircling Triad," the pre-Hellenic Triple Goddess, trans- 
formed into a mere sea nymph by Hellenic writers. She was forced to 
marry Poseidon because this god was "greedy of earthly kingdoms," 
which implied that the earthly kingdoms used to be owned by the 



nymph herself. Graves says the myth represented encroachment of 
male priesthoods on former feminine control of the fishing industry. 1 
1. Graves, G.M. 1,59, 61; 2, 379. 


This and its variations Anahita and Anaitis were the Persian and 
Armenian names for Venus, the star of Ishtar and Astarte, Mother 
Goddess of the Zend-Avesta; ruler of waters, stars, and Fate. The 
Mithraic Mysteries, though strongly male-oriented, retained Anahita as 
the necessary female principle of creation. 1 
l.Cumont.M.M., 180. 


A rabbi who opposed St. Paul. In the Acts of the Apostles, Ananias 
was (1) a holy man, Paul's instructor, who accepted Paul's faith; (2) an 
enemy, who struck Paul and publicly shamed him; and finally (3) "a 
liar unto God," who held back some of his money from the apostles, 
though they seemed to think he must surrender all of it. For this 
offense, St. Peter made Ananias "fall down dead" along with his wife 
Sapphira, and young men of the apostles' sect buried them. The 
apostles were imprisoned for murder, but "an angel" came secretly at 
night and let them out of jail (Acts 5:1-19). 

This curious story was much repeated in connection with collec- 
tion of church taxes. Withholders of tithes were called "liars" like 
the sinful Ananias. 


Milesian philosopher, 
astronomer, and 
geographer, 6th 
century B.C. 


"Necessity," a Neoplatonic-Pythagorean title of the Goddess who 
governed the world according to karmic law; another name for Fortuna, 
or Fate. "What we call causality in the West has its roots in the 
Greek images of Ananke (Necessity), Dike (Justice), Heimarmene 
(Allotted Fate), and Nemesis (Retribution) all goddesses which 
were feared and respected." Anaximander said it was according to 
Ananke that the "source of generation for all things is that into which 
their destruction also leads." Stoic philosophers made Ananke or Hei- 
marmene the supreme all-ruling world principle, with absolute 
authority over even the gods. The Orphics said Ananke was mated to 
Chronos (Time), which gave rise to the concept of supernatural 
duality known as Time-and-Fate. 1 It might be said there was no Greek 


idea of "God" that could transcend or overrule the feminine image of 
Ananke as the inescapable What-Must-Be. 

1. von Franz, 23. 



"The Infinite," a great serpent in whose coils Hindu gods spent their 
periods of sleep or death between periods of activity. 1 The serpent 
might be compared to the ancient Egyptian goddess Mehen the 
Enveloper, a serpent who enfolded Ra every night when he was "dead" 
in the underworld. The sex of the eternal serpent was indeterminate. 
Earlier myths tended to see it as female, a cosmic Kundalini. Later 
Vedic traditions tended to view Ananta as male. 


Anastasia, Saint 

"She Who Stands in Heaven," title of Rome's Great Goddess, 
personified as a pseudo-saint. Her three "serving-maids" Agapeta, 
Theonia, and Irene were originally the three Horae or Graces who 
attended the Goddess. 

Her Christianized legend associated Agapeta, Theonia, and Irene 
with a man who suffered a ceremonial death in the same way as 
ancient victims of the pagan Mamuralia or scapegoat-sacrifice. He was 
beaten with rods, reviled and spat upon, then shown a vision of the 
Triple Goddess in his moment of death, whereupon he "fell into a sleep 
so deep" that no further blows could waken him. 1 

Hagiographers claimed Anastasia was another one of the "virgin 
martyrs" slain by Diocletian's persecution. However, modern schol- 
ars admit that she never existed except as a label on statues of the 
Goddess, which were re-interpreted as images of a saint. 2 Her holy 
day was the same as that of the sun's birth from the Great Mother at the 
winter solstice: December 25. By the old lunar calendar, this festival 
began with its Eve, December 24, called Matrum Noctem, "Night of 
the Mother." 3 

l.deVoragine ( 52. 2. Attwater, 44. 3. Turville-Petre, 227. 


Twin of the Goddess Mari as Lady of Birth and Death, worshipped 
by Canaanites, Amorites, Syrians, Egyptians, and Hebrews. Greek- 
speaking Phoenicians in Cyprus called her "Anat, Strength of Life." 
An Egyptian stele of the time of Rameses II addressed her as Queen of 

var. Anatha, Anat, 
Neit, or Ath-enna; 
Egyptian: Aynat 



Ras Shamra texts 

Cuneiform tablets 
discovered in 1929 in 
the Ras Shamra 
mound, northern Syria, 
site of the ancient 
Canaanite capital city of 
Ugarit. The texts 
reveal Canaanite 
foundations of biblical 

Heaven and Mistress of All the Gods. Under the Greek Ptolemaic 
dynasty she ruled both Egypt and Palestine. Semitic texts named her 
Virgin Daughter of Palestine, or Virgin Wisdom Dwelling in Zion. 1 

The Jerusalem temple was occupied for centuries by both God 
(El) and this Goddess, variously known as Queen of Heaven, Anat, 
Asherah, Mari, or Miriam. 2 Her sanctuary Beth-Anath (House of 
Anath) is mentioned in the 19th chapter of Joshua. Some early 
Israelite chieftains called themselves her sons, like Shamgar ben Anath, 
who "slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad" 
(Judges 3:3 1). The ox goad was a magic spell, represented by the letter 
lamedh, which means "ox goad." In Sicily, a Phoenician settlement 
was named after this Goddess, Mach-Anath. Greeks called it Panorma, 
meaning Universal Mountain Mother. 3 

Primitive sacrificial rites of Anath or Anat were described in the 
Ras Shamra texts. She was fertilized by the blood of men, not by their 
semen, because her worship dated all the way back to the Neolithic 
when fatherhood was unknown and blood was considered the only 
substance that could transmit life. Hecatombs of men seem to have 
been sacrificed to Anath when her image was reddened with "rouge 
and henna" for the occasion. 4 "Violently she smites and gloats, Anat 
cuts them down arid gazes; her liver exults in mirth ... for she 
plunges her knees in the blood of the soldiers, her loins in the gore of 
the warriors, till she has had her fill of slaughtering in the house, of 
cleaving among the tables." 5 In similar rites in Egypt, priestesses hoisted 
up their skirts while dismembering the bull god Apis so his spurting 
blood would bathe their loins and fertilize them. 6 

Like the Mexican "Lady of the Serpent Skirt," who made new life 
from Quetzalcoatl's genital blood, Anath hung the shorn penises of 
her victims on her goatskin apron, or aegis. 7 When the Goddess was 
transplanted to Greece and permanently virginized as Athene, her 
aegis was transformed from the ceremonial apron of Libyan priestesses 
into a breastplate. 8 Athene still wore "serpents" (phalli) on her aegis, 
along with the Gorgon head of her Destroyer aspect. Gorgon, "Grim 
One," was Athene's title as a Death-goddess. 9 See Medusa; Metis; 

Anath annually cast her death-curse, anathema, on the Canaanite 
god who became Lord of Death: Mot, the castrated "Sterility" aspect 
of the fertile Baal. Like Set in Egypt, Mot stood for the barren season 
that slew its own fertile twin, the god Aleyin. In typical sacred-king 
style, Mot- Aleyin was the son of the Virgin Anath and also the 
bridegroom of his own mother. Like Jesus too, he was the Lamb of 
God. He said, "I am Aleyin, son of Baal (the Lord). Make ready, then, 
the sacrifice. I am the lamb which is made ready with pure wheat to 
be sacrificed in expiation." 10 

After Aleyin's death, Anath resurrected him and sacrificed Mot in 
turn. She told Mot that he was forsaken by his heavenly father El, the 
same god who "forsook" Jesus on the cross. The words attributed to 


Jesus, "My El, my El, why hast thou forsaken me? " (Mark 1 5:34), Anath 

apparently were copied from the ancient liturgical formula, which 

became part of the Passover ritual at Jerusalem. 

The sacred drama included a moment when Anath broke Mot's 
reed scepter, to signify his castration again foreshadowing a detail of 
the Christian Gospels. The breaking of the scepter meant severing the 
connection of the old, played-out king with the Earth-goddess after 
the harvest of his reign. Anath therefore slew him and used his body and 
blood to refresh the soil for the next year's crop. "She seizes Mot, the 
son divine. With her sickle she cleaves him. With her flail she beats 
him." His pieces were scattered on the fields, like pieces of the Savior 
Osiris in Egypt. 11 

Naturally, the god-killing Anath was much diabolized in later 
patriarchal legends. Abyssinian Christians called her Aynat, "the evil 
eye of the earth." They said she was an old witch destroyed by Jesus, 
who commanded that she must be burned and her ashes scattered on 
the wind. 12 The hostility of Jesus probably stemmed from the missionar- 
ies' deliberate reversal of his former identification with the destroyed 

In the Christian Gospels, Anath 's death curse Anathema Mara- 
natha (1 Corinthians 16:22) has been very loosely translated "the 
Bridegroom cometh." It really meant the Bridegroom's imminent 
death; it was the solemn curse pronounced over any sacrificial 
victim. 13 It carried the same double meaning as Latin sacer, meaning 
both "holy" and "accursed" like all dying gods, who were formerly 
anathemata, "offerings." H Every nation has examples of gods chosen 
for the sacred marriage, then accursed and killed. The Celtic God- 
dess's fatal words marked for death such heroes as Cu Chulainn and 
Diarmuid. The god called Lord of the Hunt became le Chasseur 
Maudit, "the Accursed Huntsman." 

The origin of accursed heroes in general might be found in 
ancient India, where Shiva the Condemned One was chosen by Sati- 
Kali for the sacred marriage with her virgin incarnation, followed by his 
death and journey to the underworld. 15 As a personification of the 
Primordial Abyss, the Goddess was sometimes called Kala-Nath, which 
might have been related to the name of Anath. 16 

Anath's capacity to curse and kill made even the Heavenly Father 
afraid of her. When El seemed reluctant to do her bidding, she 
threatened to smash his head and cover his gray hair and beard with 
gore. He hastily gave her everything she asked, saying, "Whoever 
hinders thee will be crushed." 17 It was a long step from this Middle- 
Eastern tale to the Greek concept of the dread Goddess as the 
Heavenly Father's ever-dutiful daughter. See Anne, Saint. 

1. Ashe, 30-31, 59. 2. Briffault 3, 1 10. 3. Massa, 48. 4. Hooke, M.E.M., 83. 

5. Gray, 80. 6. Graves, G.M. 1,255. 7. Gaster,416. 8. Graves, W.G, 410. 

9. Knight, S.L., 130. 10. Larousse, 77. 1 1 . Larousse, 78. 12.Gifford,63. 

13. Budge, GE. 2, 253. 14. Hyde, 111. 15. Larousse, 335. 16. Bardo Thodol, 147. 

17. Pritchard, A.N.E. 1,124. 




Christian term for a person or thing officially cursed and excommuni- 
cated; from the biblical passage "If any man love not the Lord Jesus 
Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22). 
Originally it was the curse pronounced by the Goddess, Marah or Mari- 
Anath, on her dying god; see Anath. In medieval Christian usage, to 
be pronounced Anathema was to be cast out of the congregation with 
bell, book, and candle, and irrevocably consigned to hell: a curious 
reminiscence of the accursed god's temporary descent into the under- 
world, in the ancient religion. 


St. Andrew's Cross 

Andrew, Saint 

From Greek andros, "man" or "virility," a title of the solar god of 
Patras, in Achaea, where the apostle Andrew was supposed to have 
been crucified after founding the Byzantine papacy. ' St. Andrew's 
legend was invented by Byzantine bishops to counter Rome's claim to 
primacy through its own legend of St. Peter. Eastern patriarchs 
upheld their magisterium by calling Andrew the elder brother of Peter, 
to enhance his authority, and declaring him the first apostle to 
discover the Messiah. 2 

The story that Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross, the 
so-called St. Andrew's Cross, was unknown until the Middle Ages. 
Apparently it evolved from a popular symbol of the eastern patri- 
archs, a solar cross in an orb. 3 It was also the Cross of Wotan carried by 
Norse invaders into Scotland, where it became the present Scottish 
national symbol. 

Patras, the site of Andrew's alleged martyrdom, was an old shrine 
of the phallic-solar father-god variously called Pater, Petra, or Peter, 
whose name had the same basic meaning as Andrew. Political battles 
between the factions of Andrew and Peter in the 4th century a.d. 
stimulated canonical disguises for local genii loci in both Byzantium and 
Rome, and these are still preserved in the calendar of saints. 4 

l.Attwater,45. 2. Brewster, 5. 3. B. Butler, 241. 4. H. Smith, 252. 


Many Indo-European religions tried to combine male and female in the 
Primal Androgyne, both sexes in one body, often with two heads 
and four arms. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad said the Primal Andro- 
gyne was "of the same size and kind as man and woman closely 
embracing." 1 Some said the male and female elements lived together in 
one skin, experiencing constant sexual bliss and spiritual 


Shiva and Shakti-Kali appeared as the androgyne Ardhanaris- Androgyne 

vara, the right side male, the left side female. 2 Rudra, the older form of 

Shiva, was known as "the Lord Who is Half Woman." 3 Brahma ^_^__^^__ 

and Vishnu also appeared as bisexual beings united with their Shaktis. 
Chinese Taoists held the mandala of Yang and Yin to represent the 

Western myths also assigned androgyny to the elder gods or the 
first human beings. The Orphic creation myth said the firstborn deity 
was a double-sexed Phanes or Eros, "Carnal Love," whose female half 
was Psyche, the soul, Greek equivalent of Shakti. 4 Hermes owed his 
phenomenal wisdom to his former androgynous existence with Mother 
Aphrodite, as double-sexed Hermaphroditus. 5 

Often, the androgyne appeared in myth as male-female twins born 
simultaneously, e.g. Isis-Osiris, Jana-Janus, Diana-Dianus, Fauna- 
Faunus, Helen-Helenus, or Artemis-Apollo, the "moon and sun" 
united in their Mother's womb. Probably an androgynous image on 
Apollo's altar at Delos gave rise to the story that he copulated with his 
sister Artemis on that altar. Several forms of the sun god were 
represented as requiring close physical union with the moon goddess, as 
even Brahma was useless without his female counterpart Bhavani, 
"Being." 6 Egypt's "supreme" sun god was often an androgyne; the sun 
was his right eye, the moon his left. 7 The same androgynous being is 
still worshipped in Dahomey as Nana-Buluku, Moon-Sun, who created 
the world and gave birth to the first pair of human beings. 8 

Many myths model the first human beings on the androgyne. 
Persians said the first pair in the garden of Heden (Eden) lived 
together in one body, until Ahura Mazda separated them. Jewish 
imitators of the Persians also said Adam and Eve were united in a 
bisexual body. Some rabbinical sources said Eve was not "taken out 
of" Adam; they were parted from one another by a jealous God who 
resented their sexual bliss, which was too Godlike for human beings, 
and should be reserved for deities. Casting man out of the "garden" 
meant detaching him from the female body, often symbolized by the 
Hebrew pardes, "garden." 9 This was another way of saying the 
original sin that angered God was not disobedience but sex. 10 

Greek myths of the Golden Age told the same tale of a jealous 
God: Zeus, who punished humanity's friend Prometheus with 
eternal torture because he tricked the Heavenly Father for human- 
ity's advantage (see Sacrifice). The people of the Golden Age had been 
created androgynous by Prometheus, who made their bodies of clay, 
and Athene, who gave them life. Father Zeus took out his anger on 
them by tearing them apart. A piece of clay was torn out of the 
female part and stuck to the male part. That is why women have an 
orifice that bleeds, and men have a loose dangling appendage that 
seems not to belong to them but always craves to return to the female 
body it came from. 



Naassenes, or 

Naassians; from 
Hebrew nahash, "ser- 
pent." Jewish or 
Christian Gnostic sects 
of the early Christian 
era, who worshipped 
the serpent god 
Ophis (Hermes) as a 
form of the Savior. 

Mysteries General 
term for religious rites 
of the "secret 
initiation" type, which 
included early 

Cruel Zeus permitted human beings to return the male appendage 
to its female home sometimes, to sense for a brief moment the bliss of 
their former bisexual existence. Some Gnostic mystery cults of the first 
centuries a.d. taught Tantric techniques to prolong the moment of 
bliss, which angered most forms of the Heavenly Father including the 
Christian one, whose bishops denounced this training as schooling 
in wickedness. 11 Church fathers especially deplored making or re- 
making the Beast with Two Backs, another term for the Primal 

Though orthodox Christianity renounced both sexuality and an- 
drogyny in religious images, Gnostic Christians used them. As Kali 
was the female half of Shiva, so the Gnostic Great Mother Sophia was 
the female half of Christ. This was revealed "in a great light": the 
Savior was shown as an androgyne coupled with "Sophia, Mother of 
All." 12 

Gnostic Christians said those who received the true revelation of 
the Father-Mother spirit were the only ones prepared for the secret 
sacrament called apolytrosis, "release," a concept identical with Tantric 
moksha or "liberation." n Obviously influenced by Tantrism or its 
prototype, western Gnostics had made a direct translation of the Hindu 
Yab-Yum, "Father-Mother," the sexual union of a sage and his 
Shakti at the crucial moment of death. 14 Sexual sacraments were in 
effect practicing for that moment, when the enlightened one would 
be restored to the condition of primordial bliss as an androgynous 

The Naassenes said no enlightenment was possible without the 
Father-Mother spirit, an androgyne sometimes called Heavenly 
Horn of the Moon. 15 In the 5th century a.d., Orphic initiations sought 
to awaken a female spirit within man, to render him sensitive to the 
message of the Mysteries. After meeting the deities in a death-and- 
rebirth experience, he carried a bowl, emblem of the womb, and 
touched his belly like a gravid woman, signifying "a spiritual experience 
uniting the opposed ways of knowledge of the male and female, and 
fused with this idea is that of a new life conceived within." 16 

Such Gnostic subtleties were disliked by the orthodox, who viewed 
all mergings of the sexes as unequivocally sinful. After Gnostic sects 
were crushed, the androgyne was consigned to hell and gave birth to 
many curious devils with both male and female attributes. A 1 6th- 
century book showed Satan himself seated on a throne, wearing a papal 
tiara, with bird feet, a female face in his genital area, and pendulous 
female breasts. 17 The Devil of the Tarot pack was usually androgynous, 
as were many of the devils represented in cathedral carvings. 

1.0'Flaherty,34. 2. Lamusse, 371. 3. O'Flaherty, 298. 4. Larousse, 90, 1 32. 

5. Graves, G.M. 1, 73. 6. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 375. 7. Erman, 301. 

8. Hays, 339. 9. Hughes, 47. 10. Cavendish, P.E., 27. 11. J.H. Smith, C.G., 287. 

12. Malvern, 53. 13. Pagels, 37. 14. Rawson, A.T., 103. 

15. Jung & von Franz, 136. 16. Campbell, M.I., 389. 17. de Givry, 125. 


Andromeda Andromeda 

"Ruler of Men," Greek title of the Philistine sea-queen won in Ange,s 

marriage by Perseus, who supposedly saved her from the sea-serpent ^m^bm^m^ 

Yamm. Perseus seems to have been a Greek name for Baal in this 

myth, for Baal annually fought Yamm for the love of Mother Astarte, 

the Philistines' Goddess, locally named Atargatis. Baal replaced 

Yamm, then was himself replaced when the queen tired of him and he 

became Yamm in his turn. Andromeda on her rock, in the classic 

myth, was transformed from a critical observer of the combat into a 


That Perseus played the role of sacred king in the original myth 
is shown by his apotheosis and rising to dwell in the stars. So also 
Heracles was raised to the stars after performing the same feat 
slaying the great sea serpent in order to mate with Hesione, "Queen of 
Asia," probably just another name for Andromeda-Atargatis. 1 

1. Graves, CM. 1,224. 


"Man-slayer," title of the Goddess Aphrodite as a Destroyer or 
death-goddess. She was also the Black One, the Goddess of the Tombs, 
and the Queen Bee who killed her lovers as drone bees are killed, by 
castration and evisceration. She had "many titles which seem inconsist- 
ent with her beauty and complaisance." ' That was because classic 
mythographers sought to make her a love goddess only, ignoring her 
earlier character as the creating-and-destroying Triple Goddess (see 

1. Graves, CM. 1,71-72. 


The earliest angels were heavenly nymphs, like Hindu apsaras, who 
dispensed sensual bliss to the blessed ones. Vikings called them 
Valkyries. Greeks called them Horae. Persians called them Houris, or 
Peris (fairies). A guardian angel was a personal Shakti who watched 
over a man and took him into her ecstatic embrace at the moment 
of death. N 

Hindu angels were created primarily for lovemaking. They had no 
menstruation, pregnancy, birth, or nursing, though they were moth- 
ers. Each child appeared miraculously on its mother's knee at the age of 
five years. Apsaras could copulate endlessly with gods without any 
emission of fluids or loss of energy. Such a being was "the perfect 
dispenser of sensual delight and amorous bliss on a divine scale." 1 
Like the queen of the Holy Grail palace in bardic romance, the angel 
was a "Dispenser of Joy." (See Grail, Holy.) 



Magic Papyri 

Collections of 
exorcisms, invocations, 
charms, and spells 
widely circulated during 
the early Christian 
era, used as bases for 
later grimoires and 
Hermetic texts. 

There were earthy angels too, the dakinis, "Skywalkers." Tantric 
writings said they lived in the Palace of Lotus Light. They were 
sometimes called prostitutes' daughters, or yoginis, i.e., yoga- 
priestesses. 2 

Although such angels seemed to be every man's wish fulfillment, 
patriarchal religions denied the sexuality of angels. Moslems rejected 
the Houris (heavenly "whores"), and insisted the angels are without 
carnal desires. 3 Yet this contradicted the teaching of the Koran, that 
after death every hero would receive beautiful girls as heavenly 
companions. 4 

European Christianity consigned the formerly divine Horae to 
Fairyland, the earthly paradise distinguished from the celestial one. 
The place was called locus voluptatis terrestis, the Terrestrial Place of 
Pleasure, or pratum felicitatus, the Paradise of Joy. 5 

Angels were often confused with seraphs and cherubs. The former 
were six-winged fiery flying serpents, the lightning-spirits of Chalde- 
an myth. The latter were Semitic kerubh, from Sheban mu-karrib, 
"priests of the moon"; sometimes they could take the form of birds. 
Angels accompanying the Hindu Great Goddess were able to fly on the 
wings of garuda birds. 6 

Biblical angels were "sons of God" who came to earth to beget 
children on mortal women (Genesis 6:4). Later these were called 
demons, or incubi, or "fallen" angels. The Book of Enoch blamed 
women for the angels' fall. Women had "led astray the angels of 
heaven." 7 In the Magic Papryi, the words angel, spirit, god, and demon 
were interchangeable. 8 When St. Paul said women's heads must be 
covered in church "because of the angels" (1 Corinthians 1 1:10), he 
meant the daemones (demons) supposed to be attracted to women's 
hair. The Greeks thought each person had an individual guardian angel 
or daemon which could appear in animal form, and under Christian- 
ity evolved into the "familiar spirit." There were no really well-defined 
distinctions between angels, demons, familiars, fairies, elves, saints, 
genii, ancestral ghosts, or pagan gods. 9 Among supernatural beings one 
might always find many hazy areas of overlapping identities, even 
"good" or "evil" qualities being blurred. 

A Gallup poll showed in 1978 that over half of all Americans still 
believe in angels. 10 

1. Zimmer, 163. 2. Tat/ & Kent, 84, 148. 3. Budge, G.E. 1, 5. 
4. Campbell, Oc.M., 430. 5. Silberer, 212. 6. Tatz & Kent, 146. 
7. Tennant, 183-84. 8. M. Smith, 191. 9. Wimberly, 423. 
10. Newsweek, June 26, 1978, p. 32. 


Silent Goddess of Rome, shown holding a finger to her sealed 
mouth. Some said Angerona represented the secret name of Rome, 
which it was illegal to pronounce. 1 In all probability she was a pre- 


Roman title of the same primal Creatress whom Gnostics called Sige, 
"Silence," personifying the lightless and soundless womb that gave 
birth to the first deities. Gnostics said Silence was the mother of the 
Great Goddess herself. 

1. Larousse, 214. 



Eddaic "Hag of the Iron Wood," mother of Hel and of the Moon- 
dogs who bore away the dead. Danaans, or Danes, knew her as Anu, 
Yngona, Nanna, or "Anna of the Angles." She was a "hag" in the 
ancient sense of "Holy One"; the Death-goddess. 1 See Dog. 

1. Graves, W.G, 409. 


Female soul, from the roots an, "heavenly," and ma, "mother," 
recalling a time when all souls were supposed to emanate from the 
Heavenly Mother. 1 In the 16th century a.d. Guillaume Postel said 
every soul had male and female halves, the animus and anima. The 
male half had been redeemed by Christ, but the female half was still 
unredeemed and awaited a female savior. 2 This was a new development 
of the old Christian view that only males had any souls at all. The 
third canon of the Council of Nantes in 660 a.d. had decided that all 
women are "soulless brutes." 5 

Alchemists applied the word anima to all "spirits" considered 
female: Anima Mercury, Anima Mundi, etc. The Spirit of the World 
was connected with the elements of earth and water, like Eleusinian 
Demeter, "Mistress of Earth and Sea." One reason alchemists were 
suspected of heresy was their notion that the World-Soul was a female 

Carl Jung revived the terms animus and anima to describe reason- 
ing and intuitive parts of the mind (i.e., left and right hemispheres). 
Every person's anima is "often symbolically connected with both earth 
and water. She is pictured as timeless and profoundly wise. . . . Each 
man's first and formative experience of the anima is with his mother. 
Her true function in the mind, according to Jung, is creativity." 4 

1. Graves, W.G., 410. 2. Seligmann, 223. 3.Dreifus,4. 4. Cavendish, T., 79. 

Guillaume Postel 

(1510-1581) French 
scholar, teacher, and 
mystic, friend of 
Ignatius Loyola, 
accepted into the Jesuit 
order but later 
expelled for "wrong" 
ideas. He was 
imprisoned in Rome by 
the Inquisition, until 
a popular uprising 
opened the prisons 
and offered him a lucky 


Emanation of Kali the Destroyer as the spirit of cholera. She had 
many such emanations, each one specializing in a certain 
disease capable of causing death. See Kali Ma. 


Ankh Ankh 

Anne, Saint Egyptian "Cross of Life" representing union of male and female 

^^^^m sexual symbols: a female oval surmounting a male cross. Its other name 
was Key of the Nile, because the sacred marriage between God and 
Goddess was supposed to take place at the source of the Nile each year 
before the flood. The Christian version of the Cross of Life, which 
didn't appear in Christian art until after the 5th century a.d., sig- 
nificantly lacked the feminine oval and kept only the masculine part 
of the figure. 1 

The ankh seems to have evolved from an ancient symbol of the 
Goddess in Libya and Phoenicia: a narrow triangle surmounted by 
a crossbar and a round or oval head. 2 

t Egyptians regarded the ankh as a universal life-charm. "The life of 

every being, divine or human, depended on his or her possession of 
it. From first to last the gods are seen carrying it in their right hands, and 
they gave life to their kings and servants presenting it to them." 3 
Early Christians also used the ankh occasionally as an emblem of 

immortality, calling it an ansated cross. They knew the Egyptians had 

Ankh a certain letter-hieroglyph that "stood for the life to come; and this letter 

had the form of a cross." 4 In hieroglyphics the ankh stood simply for 
the word "life." 5 

I. H. Smith, 188. 2. d'Alviella, 186-90. 3. Budge, A.T., 128. 
4. de Voragine, 550. 5. Budge, E.L, 83. 


Sumerian prototype of the many forms of the Great Goddess named 
Anna, Ana, or Hannah throughout the Middle East and Mediteranean 
lands. The name meant Lady of Heaven. See Anne, Saint. 


Himalayan mountain called Great Breast Full of Nourishment; a 
manifestation of the Great Goddess as the home and support of the 

Anne, Saint 

Mythical mother of the virgin Mary, from the Middle-Eastern 
Goddess Anna, or Hannah, or Di-Ana, mother of Mari. From Sumeria 
to pre-Roman Latium she was known as Anna, the Grandmother- 
Goddess; Anatha in Syria, Anat in Canaan, Ana or Anah in several Old 
Testament transformations. Long before the Bible was written, the 
Goddess Anna was already known as the Grandmother of God. Hence, 


the choice of her name for the mother of God's Mother is hardly Anne, Saint 

surprising. 1 

Syriac versions of the Book of James said God's Grandmother was ^^^^^^^^ 
not Anna but Dinah, actually the same name, a Semitic Di-Ana or 
"Goddess Ana." Dinah was the ancestress of Dinaite tribes who settled 
in Sumeria (Ezra 4:9). As Anatha, she was the consort of Yahweh at 
Elephantine. 2 As Anna Perenna she was Grandmother Time to the 
Romans, mother of the Aeons. As Ana or Anu she ruled Celtic 
tribes. As Nanna, she was an incarnation of Freya in the mother-bride of 
Balder. In Phrygia too, she was Nana, mother of the Savior. She was 
really as old as the oldest civilization. A Sumerian prayer declared: 
"Hear O ye regions, the praise of Queen Nana; magnify the 
Creatress, exalt the dignified, exalt the Glorious One, draw nigh unto 
the Mighty Lady." 3 

Romans worshipped the Goddess as Anna Perenna, "Eternal 
Anna," mother of the Aeons. She stood at the change of years, a two- 
headed Goddess of Time with two faces named Prorsa and Postverta, 
looking forward and backward from her heavenly gate among the 
stars, where one celestial cycle merged into the next. So she stood for 
both Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Under the name of 
Carmenta she invented all the letters in between. 4 She was also Jana, or 
Juno, mother of the January New Year. Classical myths masculin- 
ized her as the two-faced Janus, god of gateways. Christians may have 
confused icons labeled IANA with the mother of the Virgin; for Jana- 
Juno was the virgin mother of the savior-god Mars. 

Ovid said Anna was the same as the Moon-goddess Minerva. 
Sappho named her "the Queen." 5 To the Celts, she was the same as 
their Ana, first of the female trinity of the Morrigan, associated with the 
Cauldron of Regeneration. Her moon-temple used to stand at Cnoc 
Aine in Limerick, now a shrine of "St. Anne." 6 To Irish pagans, Ana 
meant "mother." It also came to mean wealth, plenty, treasure. 7 

As Grandmother-goddess, Ana could be a destroying Crone. 
Some myths called her Morg-ana, "Invincible Queen Death." Medi- 
eval Christians called her Anna of the Angles, or Black Annis, or 
Angurboda, the Hag of the Iron Wood, mother of Hel. 8 The magic 
pentacle was the sign of Morg-ana. 9 A similar five-pointed star stood for 
the underworld in Egyptian hieroglyphics. 10 This same star was the 
official sigil of St. Anne. 11 

In her Christianized form, Anne had three husbands, gave birth to 
many saints, and became the patron of midwives and miners. Neu- 
mann says, "All this bears witness to her original fertility aspect as Earth 
Mother." n 

St. Anne was of crucial importance in the dogma of the virgin 
Mary's immaculate conception, adopted as an article of faith in 
1854, after seven centuries of controversy. 13 In the official Catholic 
view, original sin was transmitted by sexual acts. Therefore, so Mary 


Antic Hey 

Johannes Trithemius 

German scholar, Abbot 
of Sponheim 

could be born without taint of original sin, St. Anne herself had to be in- 
nocent of sexuality. Accordingly, Johannes Trithemius proclaimed 
that Anne "was chosen by God for her appointed services before the 
foundation of the world. She conceived 'without the action of man,' 
and was as pure as her daughter." H 

At first the church accepted this doctrine, because it seemed to 
solve the problem of Mary's sinlessness. Later it was rejected. Two 
virgin births made one too many. In the end, St. Anne was said to have 
conceived Mary in the normal way but the child was freed in the 
womb of original sin. Though these intimate matters are supposed to be 
known in minute detail, churchmen incongruously admit that "noth- 
ing whatever is known about the parents of the Virgin Mary." 15 

1. Graves, W.G., 411. 2. Hays, 89. 3. Stone, 219. 4. Larousse, 2 1 0. 
5. Graves, W.G., 408. 6. Loomis, 387. 7. Joyce 1, 261. 8. Sturluson, 56. 
9. Loomis, 342. 10. Budge, E.L., 75. 11. Brewster, 343. 
12. Neumann, A.C.U., 57. 13. Young, 203. 14. Neumann, A.C.U., 59. 
15. Attwater, 186. 

Antic Hey 

Dance step of the medieval Carnival King: antico from Latin 
antiquus, "ancient, venerable." Carnival "antics" were connected with 
the Old Religions, whose sacred processions were often accompanied 
by clowns deliberately making obscene gestures and jokes to heighten 
the spirit of revelry. 1 The "hey" was, and is, a figure-eight pattern 
paced on the ground, the sign meaning "infinity" in Hindu-Arabic 
numeral systems and in their descendant, modern mathematics. 
Choruses of old folk songs call for the hey, in nonsense phrases like 
"Hey, nonny nonny," or "Hey, deny down." Thus the antic hey was 
really a pagan liturgy in song or dance or both, performed at secularized 
versions of the ancient rites. 
1. Funk, p. 54. 


Virgin-born son of the devil, supposed to appear during the world's 
Last Days. Christianity never escaped the patterns of dualism, whereby 
each god had to have an equal and opposite anti-god. Antichrist was 
the Christian equivalent of Chaldean Aciel, lord of the nether world, 
counterbalancing the solar god of the heavens. 

The coming of Antichrist has been announced and re-announced 
throughout the entire Christian era, especially in times of political 
and social stress. His title has been laid on Nero, Attila, Genghis Khan, 
Merlin, Frederick II, and many others including several popes. More 
recently, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Hitler were all nominated for 
the position. See Doomsday. 



General term for Christian sects that followed the original doctrine of 
apotheosis, believing they could become "one with Christ." Like their 
pagan contemporaries, many early Christians thought the only route 
to immortality was deification, and the object of their Mysteries was to 
learn how to be deified. The distinction between men and gods was 
that men died and gods didn't. Thus, one's immortality depended on 
becoming a god, often by sacramental procedures such as eating a 
god's flesh and blood (see Cannibalism). 

Clement of Alexandria said: "That man with whom the Logos 

dwells ... is made like God and is beautiful [T]hat man becomes 

God, for God so wills it [T]he Logos of God became man that from 

man you might learn how man may become God. . . . [T]he true 
Christian Gnostic has already become God." l 

This doctrine of deification was soundly based on pagan prece- 
dent. Worshippers of Hermes the Logos believed that "This is the 
good end for those who have attained knowledge, namely, Deification." 
They said to Hermes, "Thou art I, and I am thou; thy name is mine, 
for I am thy image (eidolon)." Mithraists used the same formula, "I am 
thou and thou art I," which the Gospels put in the mouth of Jesus, 
"Abide in me, and I in you" (John 1 5:4). Seneca said, "A holy spirit 
dwells within us." Epictetus wrote: "You are bearing a God with 
you. ... It is within yourself that you carry him." Cicero said initiation 
into the Mysteries taught a man he could be God, "inferior in no 
whit to the celestials." 2 

The theological pitfall in the concept of salvation through apotheo- 
sis was that identification of self and god led to what Tantric sages 
called Svecchacara, "Do As You Will." In effect, the perfected sage 
could do nothing evil because he was God, and God was incapable of 
sinning. 3 Therefore he was above all man-made laws, and could do 
as he pleased. 

Greek democracy was based on a related idea that through 
enlightenment and reason each citizen would become capable of self- 
government and would make no moral errors. This did not apply to 
slaves, women, or those who owned no property; such were not 
classed as citizens. Mature male landowners however could become 
idiotae, "self-gods." 4 Thus the word "idiot" began in Greek with the 
sense of "one who will not be governed," that is, one who believed the 
divine will dwelt in himself. 

Numerous medieval Christian sects took the Antinomian route to 
salvation, believing that, like eastern sages, they could become one 
with the divine. These mystics "in their identification with God sup- 
posed that upon their conscious union with Him they were exempt 
from the rules governing ordinary men." Leaders like Amalric of Bena, 
Johann Hartmann, sects like the Alumbrados, Illuminates, Adamites, 
and others taught that when their flesh was occupied by the holy spirit 


Clement of 
Alexandria (Titus 
Flavius Clemens) 
Christian presbyter and 
teacher of the late 
2nd century a.d., once 
reckoned a saint, but 
removed from the 
canon of saints in 
1586 by Pope SixtusV. 


"Enlightened Ones" 
Spanish heretics of 
the 15th to 17th 
centuries, recruited 
from reform 
movements among 
the Jesuits and 
Franciscans. They 
were eventually 
exterminated by the 

Illuminati or 

Bavarian secret 
society founded by 
Adam Weishaupt, a 
former Jesuit. The 
society was banned 
in 1785. 

Adamites 18th- 
century sectaries who 
believed nakedness 
represented the natural 
state of innocence in 
which Adam dwelt 
before he "fell" into 
sin, and began to clothe 


Anubis they could commit no sins of the flesh. For them, sexual promiscuity 

was only a natural "embracing of God." 5 
^^^^^^^^^^^ Brothers and Sisters of the Free Spirit undertook to demonstrate 

the redemptive virtues of sexuality, nakedness, and scorn of the 
conventions. The more openly they displayed their hippie-like beha- 
viors, the more closely they approached the divine essence. Frazer 
remarked, "Their progress toward this mystic communion was acceler- 
ated by the Inquisition, and they expired in the flames, not merely 
with unclouded serenity, but with the most triumphant feelings of 
cheerfulness and joy." 6 They had their own martyr, a literary sister 
who wrote the gospel of their sect, The Mirror of Free Souls. She and 
her book both were excommunicated and burned in 1 3 10 a.d. 7 

Antinomian ideas were often defined as heresy, as in the case of 
Simon Morin, who seems to have had fairly standard delusions of 
grandeur. He said he was the incarnate second coming of Christ, and 
was incapable of committing a sin; anything he did must be wor- 
shipped. The church disagreed, and burned him as a witch. 8 

The usual Antinomian excuses for sexual self-expression infiltrated 
a group of nuns in the Dominican convent of St. Catherine de Prato. 
Early in the 19th century, a text of the official inquiry into this case was 
published in Brussels, then "withdrawn at the insistence of the Papal 
Court. The second edition is . . . much expurgated." One of the nuns 
expounded on her Antinomian teachings: "It is sufficient to elevate 
the spirit to God and then no action, whatever it be, is sinful. . . . Love 
of God and one's neighbor is the whole of the commandments. Man 
who unites with God by means of woman satisfies both command- 
ments. So also does he who, lifting his spirit to God, has enjoyment 
with a person of the same sex or alone. ... In doing that which we 
erroneously call impure is real purity ordained by God, without 
which man cannot arrive at a knowledge of Him." 9 

Such ideas were typically Oriental, as opposed to the Christian idea 

of entering into a relationship with a God who was an external 

"other." Though the Gospels said "the kingdom of God is within you" 

(Luke 17:21), orthodox Christianity treated this as a heretical idea. 10 

1. Angus, 106. 2. Angus, 102, 108, 1 10, 1 12. 3. Avalon, 624-25. 

4. Lindsay, O.A., 91. 5. Avalon, 636. 6. Frazer, G.B., 117-18. 7.Tuchman, 317. 

8. Summers, G.W., 429-30. 9. Avalon, pp. 637-39. 10. Campbell, M.L.B., 79, 95. 


Jackal-headed Egyptian god of the underworld and of mummifica- 
tion; judge of the dead; Egypt's primary psychopomp, like Hermes in 
Greece. Mated to Nephthys, the underground aspect of Isis, Anubis 
was sometimes known as the Great Dog. He was considered essential to 
the worship of Isis and Osiris. Plutarch said he had "a power among 


the Egyptians much like that of Hecate among the Greeks, he being ter- 
restrial as well as Olympic Those that worship the dog, have a 

certain secret meaning that must not be revealed. In the more remote 
and ancient times the dog had the highest honor paid to him in 
Egypt." Anubis may have been originally a canine incarnation of 
Shiva, whose name also meant a jackal. 2 

1. Knight, S.L., 113. 2. Mahanirvanatantra, 113. 


var. Anukis 


"The Clasper," an Egyptian Goddess personifying the yonic source 
of the Nile flood. Her symbol was the cowrie, always emblematic of 
female genitals. Her union with the ithyphallic god was supposed to 
bring life-giving Nile waters to the land. She "clasped" a number of 
gods, including in the 5 th century b.c. the Hebrew Jehovah. 1 

Like Kali Ma in India, Anuket had four arms, representing union 
between male and female principles. The general pattern for such 
deities was that two arms held symbols of the male elements, and two 
held symbols of the female elements. Yet she was known as "The 
One." She was "self-begotten and self-produced, and whilst yet a virgin 
gave birth to the sun god." 2 

At the Festival of the Inundation, Egyptians sang to her: "Thou 
art the bringer of food, thou art the mighty one of meat and drink, 
thou art the creator of all good things. Thou fillest the storehouses; thou 
heapest high with corn the granaries, and thou hast care for the poor 
and needy." 3 

1. Graves, W.G., 405; Lamusse, 37. 2. Budge, D.N., 159. 3. Budge, D.N., 106. 

Festival of the 
Inundation Annual 
celebration of the 
coming of the Nile 
flood, which brought 
the water and fresh silt 
necessary to the 
fertility of the entire 
Nile valley, where 
rain was almost 


Egyptian and Greek names of the Great Serpent of the underworld, 
who threatened to swallow the sun god every night as he passed through 
the realm of darkness, returning from west to east. (See Serpent.) 
Ra's priesthood evidently decided at one point that Ra faced danger in 
the underworld, so the faithful would be encouraged to help the sun 
return with their nightly prayers. However, the Serpent was a common 
personification of the Egyptian underworld or Tuat itself. The realm 
of darkness with its various "chambers" was the interior of the serpent's 
body, through which the sun god must pass, as he was always 
swallowed at each sunset. 1 

In medieval alchemy the "Apophis-snake" was confused with the 
Hermetic Ouroboros, a hidden world spirit in the form of a serpent, 
who might reveal the secret of the Philosopher's Stone. 

1. Budge, G.E. 1,266. 

var. Apophis 



Celtiberian Dating 
from the occupation of 
the Iberian peninsula 
by Celtic tribes, 
especially the 
loosely-knit empire 
known as Brigantia, 
ruled by the Goddess 


Pointed conical cap worn by the Roman high priest, Flamen Dialis. 
When outdoors, he must always have the apex on his head. 1 It was a 
phallic symbol representing his continual union with the Queen of 
Heaven. It has been shown that "In the symbolism of dreams and of 
myths the hat is usually the phallus." 2 

The Flamen's wife, the Flaminica, represented the Goddess. She 
was the more important dignitary of the two. If his marriage was 
terminated by her death, the Flamen immediately lost his sacred office 
and reverted to a private citizen. Such customs show that the powers 
of priests "in Rome as elsewhere, derived in the first instance from an 
older priesthood of magical women." 3 

The same conical cap belonged to the Lord of the Underworld in 
Celtiberian pagan imagery. He was Helman: a man belonging to the 
Goddess Hel. 4 Sometimes he was said to be the god Frey, consort of 
Hel's heavenly or lunar aspect, Freya. 5 

The same conical cap evolved into the traditional headdress of sor- 
cerers and witches; the Fool's Cap (or Dunce Cap) worn by the 
Carnival King; the bishop's miter; the pope's tiara; and before them all, 
the conical crown of Egyptian pharaohs, emblem of the king's union 
with the Sky-goddess. To the present day, the conical witch-hat is worn 
by Tantric priests and sorcerers in Tibet. 6 

1. Rose, 209. 2. Silberer, 87. 3. Briffault 3, 20-21. 4. Knight, D.W.P., 73. 
5. H.R.E. Davidson, P.S., 134. 6. Waddell, 483. 


Often dismissed as a "Greek goddess of love," Aphrodite was really 
much more than that. Like Kali, she was a Virgin-Mother-Crone 
trinity. She was once indistinguishable from the Fates (Moirai); her 
old name was Moira, and she was said to be older than Time. She gov- 
erned the world by ius naturale, the natural law of the maternal clan. 1 

She was not only Greek. She was the Dea Syria, also known as 
Asherah or Astarte, Goddess of the oldest continuously-occupied 
temple in the world. 2 She was the ancestral mother of the Romans, for 
she gave birth to their founding father, Aeneas. 3 Under the name of 
Venus, she was the mother of the Venetii, whose capital city became 
Venice, called "Queen of the Sea" after the Goddess herself. 

One of Aphrodite's major centers of worship was the city of 
Paphos on Cyprus, the island named for its copper mines. Thus, she 
was called "the Cyprian" or "the Paphian," and her sacred metal was 
copper. She was also called Mari, the Sea. Egyptians referred to her 
island as Ay-Mari. 4 

During the Christian era, Aphrodite's temple on Cyprus was 
converted into a sanctuary of the virgin Mary, another name of the 
same Goddess, but in this sanctuary the virgin Mary is hailed to this day 
as Panaghia Aphroditessa, "All-holy Aphrodite." 5 


Continued worship of the goddess on Cyprus probably contributed Apis 

to the Christian belief that the whole population of Cyprus descend- 
ed from demons. 6 In reality, Cyprian Aphrodite was like all other ^^^^^^^^ 
manifestations of the Great Goddess: ruling birth, life, love, death 
time, and fate, reconciling man to all of them through sensual and 
sexual mysticism. The Cyprian sage Zenon taught Aphrodite's phi- 
losophy: "mankind and the universe were bound together in the system 

of fate Diogenes Laertios tells us that Zenon was the first to 

define the end of human existence as 'life in accordance with nature.' " 7 

Aphrodite had almost as many "emanations" as Thousand-Named 
Kali. She was not only Mari and Moira and Marina and Pelagia and 
Stella Maris, all titles related to her control of the sea; she was also 
Ilithyia, Goddess of childbirth; Hymen, Goddess of marriage; Venus, 
Goddess of sexuality and the hunt; Urania, Queen of Heaven; Andro- 
phonos, the Destroyer of Men; and many others. She was often 
identified with Isis. Anchises, her lover who begot Aeneas and then was 
castrated, had a name meaning "he who mates with Isis." 8 Under 
several of her names, Aphrodite mated with Semitic gods. Her cult 
occupied the main temple in Jerusalem after 70 a.d. In the 4th 
century it was said that Constantine's mother found the true cross of 
Christ buried in Aphrodite's Jerusalem temple. (See Cross.) 

One of Aphrodite's greatest shrines in Asia Minor was the city of 
Aphrodisias, once dedicated to Ishtar. Up to the 12th century a.d., 
when the city was taken by Seljuk Turks, the Goddess was worshipped 
there as the patron of arts and letters, crafts, and culture. 9 Recent 
excavations have uncovered exquisite artifacts and statuary, bespeaking 
a cultivated and sophisticated lifestyle under the Goddess's rule. 10 

The calendar still keeps the name of Aphrodite on the month 
dedicated to her, April (Aphrilis). The ancient Kalendar of Romulus 
said this was the month of Venus. 11 

1. Bachofen, 57, 192. 2. Encyc. Brit, "Byblos." 3. Graves, G.M. 1, 69. 
4. Graves, W.G., 410. 5. Ashe, 192. 6. Cavendish, P.E., 104. 
7. Lindsay, O.A., 103. 8. Graves, G.M. 1, 71-72. 9. Lederer, 170. 
10. National Geographic, v. 141, n. 6 (June 1972). 11. Brewster, 172. 


Egyptian lunar bull god annually sacrificed at Memphis. Later he was 
combined with Osiris to produce the syncretic god of the Ptolemies, 
Osorapis, or Sarapis. Apis was begotten in bull form when moon- 
beams fell on a cow in heat. He was identified by special markings, 
notably symbols of the Goddess: a triangle on his forehead, a flying 
vulture on his side, a crescent moon on his flank. After death each Apis 
bull was elaborately embalmed and buried in the vast underground 
bull-tombs. 1 In mummy form, like all Egyptian gods, he became "an 

1 . Larousse, 44. 


Apollo Apollo 

Greek sun god who took over the powers of his twin sister Artemis, 
^^^^^^^^^^^ the Moon. Originally, he was her child, as the sun was born of 

the Moon-goddess in Egypt and elsewhere. He was also her totemic 
beast in several forms: a wolf (Apollo Lycaeus), a mouse (Apollo 
Smintheus), or a golden-maned lion (Apollo Chrysocomes). 

The fully anthropomorphized Apollo laid claim to the Goddess's 
powers of prophecy, poetry, music, magic, and healing. His priest- 
hood adopted the Muses, the Graces, even the Great Serpent who gave 
oracles from the earth-womb, Apollo Python, known as Sol Niger 
(Black Sun) during his nightly sojourn in the underworld. Egyptians 
called him Apep or Apophis, the serpent of darkness. In the Bible he 
is Apollyon, "Spirit of the Pit" (Revelation 9:1 1). 

Apollo's serpent-form inspired the Pythoness, priestess of the 
Delphic oracle, Greece's foremost temple of prophecy. This temple 
belonged to the Goddess in the beginning; delphi means womb. Even 
Apollo's priests admitted that she had owned the oracle in her 
trinitarian guise as mother of earth, heaven, and the abyss: the first of all 
deities to prophesy, the Earth-mother; and Themis, mother of the sea 
and of all Themistes, "oracles"; and the Moon-goddess, Artemis, under 
the name of Phoebe another title stolen by Apollo, who became 
known as Phoebus. 1 

Apollonian priests naturally directed their energies toward con- 
quest of the oracles. "The reason why a deity associated with political 
conquest and order should take possession of oracular shrines is obvious; 
oracles were the chief means of controlling public opinion and public 
action, and to control the oracles was as necessary to a political god as it 
is to later politicians to control the press or education." 2 

Laurel became Apollo's sacred plant because it was the plant of 
inspired poetic frenzy, which is why Britain's national poet is still 
called Laureate, the laurel-crowned one. The Delphic Pythoness 
chewed leaves of cherry laurel to induce her poetic-prophetic trances. 
Cherry laurel contains traces of cyanide, enough to cause delirium, 
foaming at the mouth, and other symptoms of divine possession. 

Apollo's priests used the oracles to create new patriarchal laws, 
overturning the laws of the matriarchate. Apollo's most notable 
judicial act was to absolve Orestes from the crime of killing his mother. 
Apollo said it was no crime, because a mother is not a real parent; 
only a father truly gives life to a child, the same "Apollonian" opinion 
later adopted by Christian theologians. 3 Yet this patriarchal opinion 
was negated by Apollo's own surname of Letoides, "son of Leto." 4 He 
carried the name of his mother only, after the custom of the matri- 
archal Lycians who recognized strictly matrilineal ancestry, and in 
whose country Apollo's cult first evolved. 

In his earliest manifestations, Apollo was subordinate to the God- 
dess as her dog-faced or wolf-faced door-guardian: a "Spirit of the 
Pit" like Apollyon, another name for Anubis or Cerberus. Four Hittite 


altars found in Anatolia were dedicated to a god named Apulunas, 
Guardian of Gates, forerunner of Apollo Lycaeus or "Wolfish Apol- 
lo." 5 Once he walked at the Goddess's heel, like Anubis; but this 
was suppressed and forgotten. 

To some early Christians, Apollo became a junior God. He was 
even said to have fathered on mortal virgins several pagan sages 
respected by the church, such as Plato. 6 Healing miracles were widely 
attributed to Apollo. 7 Christians sought his intervention in certain 
illnesses. It was claimed that if a naked virgin touched the afflicted part, 
saying, "Apollo denieth that the heat of the plague can increase 
where a naked virgin quencheth it," the patient would get well. 8 

Under his title of Benedictus, "Good-speaker," Apollo was even 
canonized, and became St. Benedict. 9 

1. Lederer, 149. 2. Briffault 3, 153-54. 3. Bachofen, 159. 4. Guthrie, 83. 
5. Guthrie, 86. 6. Shumaker, 152. 7. Graves, W.G., 433. 8. Hazlitt 354 
9. Attwater, 62. 



Describing the religious customs of the Aztecs, Father Acosta unwit- 
tingly gave one of the real purposes of Jesus's twelve companions: 

They took a captive . . . and afore they did sacrifice him unto their idols, 
they gave him the name of the idol, saying that he did represent the 
same idol. . . . When he went through the streets, the people came forth 
to worship him, and every one brought him an alms, with children and 
sick folks, that he might cure them, and bless them, suffering him to do all 
things at his pleasure, only he was accompanied with ten or twelve men 
lest he should fly. . . . The feast being come, and he grown fat, they killed 
him, opened him, and ate him, making a solemn sacrifice of him. ' 

This devoured Savior, closely watched by his ten or twelve 
guards, embodied the god Quetzalcoatl, who was born of a virgin, slain 
in atonement for a primal sin, and whose Second Coming was 
confidently expected. 2 He was often represented as a trinity signified by 
three crosses, a large one between the smaller ones. 5 Father Acosta 
naively said, "It is strange that the devil after his manner hath brought a 
Trinity into idolatry." 4 His church found it all too familiar, and long 
kept his book as one of its secrets. 

The Gospels contain hints that Jesus was as reluctant as the 
Quetzalcoatl-victim. Once he ran away from his "apostles" and fled 
alone into the mountains, fearing men would "come and take him by 
force, to make him a king" (John 6:1 5). That is, he didn't want the 
fatal honor of being a sacred king of the Jews, the doomed Bridegroom 
of Zion. The apostles caught up with him in Capernaum, and his 
subsequent speeches indicate resignation to his fate. 

He said he was the bread of God, come down from heaven to give 
life to the world: "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will 
give for the life of the world Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh 

Jose de Acosta 

16th-century Spanish 
Jesuit missionary who 
accompanied the 
conquistadores, and 
wrote a history of 
native cultures in Peru, 
Bolivia, and Mexico. 


Apotheosis my blood, hath eternal life" (John 6:50, 54). On the eve of the 

Apple sacrifice he prayed despairingly, "O my Father, if it be possible, let 

^^^^^^^^^^^ this cup pass from me; nevertheless . . . thy will be done" (Matthew 
26:39, 42). At least the Gospel narrator claims Jesus said this. 

Naturally, any sacred king's guards would become popularizers of 
his cult, "dining out" on the divine sayings and actions for years. 
However, the Gospels were not written by the apostles whose names 
they bear. They were forgeries, compiled long after Jesus's time, 
some as late as the middle of the 2nd century. 5 Even this is scholarly 
guesswork, since no authentic manuscript can be dated before the 4th 
century. 6 

Canonization of the apostles used an ancient Buddhist symbol, the 
ushnisha or "flame of invisible light" appearing on top of their heads. 
To Buddhists, this flame streaming from the "lotus center" of the skull 
meant super-intelligence. It appeared over the heads of bodhisattvas. 7 
The same phenomenon appeared over the heads of the apostles (Acts 
2:4). The rest of their stories were as mythical as those of the 
bodhisattvas. Guignebert says "not one of them is true. . . . [Tjhere 
exists no information really worthy of credence about the life and 
work of the immediate Apostles of Jesus." 8 

l.Frazer,G.B.,680. 2. Neumann, G.M., 203-8. 3. Briffault 2, 604. 
4. Doane, 378. 5. H. Smith, 179, 182; Stanton, 106. 6. Pfeifer, 103. 
7. Ross, 126. 8. Guignebert, 61. 


"God-making," the ritual of raising a slain sacrificial savior to heaven, 
to become a constellation among the stars or a part of his heavenly 
father. It became a custom to apotheosize Roman emperors while 
they were still living. Most other ancient kings were also gods on earth. 
Their surrogates, the "sacred kings" who died in their place, were 
promised immediate godhood after death. 

Apotheosis was similarly promised Christian martyrs who perished 
in the belief that they would be wholly assimilated to Christ and 
would sit "on the right hand of God" like him. The church's ritual of 
canonization was a direct copy of pagan ceremonies of apotheosis. 
The Roman emperors' souls winging to heaven as eagles contributed 
the idea of releasing white doves at the climax of the church's 
canonization ceremony. 1 See Drama. 



Eve's fruit of knowledge used to be the Goddess's sacred heart of 
immortality, all over the Indo-European culture complex. The God- 
dess's many western paradises grew the apples of eternal life. The 


Celts called the western paradise Avalon, "Apple-land," a country ruled Apple 

by Morgan, the queen of the dead. Irish kings received the Goddess's 

magic apples of immortality and went away to live with her under the ^^^^^_^_^^ 

sunset. King Arthur was taken to Avalon by the Triple Goddess in 

person, as three fairy queens. 

Scandinavians thought apples essential to resurrection, and placed 
vessels of them in graves. 1 The Norse Goddess Idun kept the magic 
apple-land in the west, where the gods received the fruit that kept them 
deathless. 2 Apples carried souls from one body to the next. Sigurd's 
or Siegfried's great-grandmother conceived by eating an apple. 3 The 
Yule pig was roasted with an apple in its mouth, to serve as a heart in 
the next life (see Boar). 

Greeks said Mother Hera kept the magic apple garden in the west, 
where the Tree of Life was guarded by her sacred serpent. Graves 
points out that the whole story of Eve, Adam, and the serpent in the 
tree was deliberately misinterpreted from icons showing the Great 
Goddess offering life to her worshipper, in the form of an apple, with 
the tree and its serpent in the background. Similarly, Hellenes 
misinterpreted icons of the hero-victim receiving an apple from the 
Triple Goddess, before his journey to paradise, as the Judgment 
of Paris: a picture of a young man receiving the apple from three 
Goddesses, not vice versa. 4 

Romans gave the apple-mother the name of Pomona, which was 
probably inherited from the Etruscans. She symbolized all fruition. A 
Roman banquet always progressed ab ovo usque mala, from eggs to 
apples beginning with the symbol of creation and ending with the 
symbol of completion. It was recorded that King Herod finished every 
meal in the Roman style, with an apple. 5 

One reason for the extreme reverence paid to this fruit is revealed 
by cutting it transversely, as the gypsies and witches did. Hidden in 
the apple's core was the magic pentacle, or sign of Kore (Core). Just as 
Kore the Virgin was hidden in the heart of Mother Earth (Demeter) 
and represented the World Soul, so her pentacle was hidden in the 

The five-pointed star in a circle was the Egyptian hieroglyph for 
the underworld womb, where resurrection was brought about by the 
mother-heart of "transformations." 6 In Christian iconography also, this 
apple-sign represented the Virgin concealed within the Mother, like 
Kore within Demeter. (See Anne, Saint.) 

Among gypsies, "occult couples" carefully cut the apple to reveal 
its pentacle and ate it together as magical nourishment during Tannic 
intercourse. 7 A gypsy maiden was supposed to bring about her partner s 
mystic union with the soul of the earth through her own body; thus 
she was a Shakti, and the apple was her sexual symbol. It was a custom 
for a gypsy girl to choose her lover by tossing an apple at him, just as 
Kali-Shakti chose Shiva to be her doomed bridegroom. 8 

In Celtic paganism the Goddess's apple similarly signified a sacred 



Volsungs Teutonic 
clan of demigods 
favored by Odin, 
who used a magic apple 
to impregnate the 
mother of the original 
Volsung. His 
descendant Sigurd is 
better known as 
Siegfried, hero of the 
Germanic Ring of 
the Nibelung. 

marriage and a journey to the land of death. Queen Guinevere, who 
was really the Triple Goddess, according to the Welsh Triads, gave a 
magic apple to "the Irish knight Sir Patrice," actually St. Patrick, 
formerly the father-god or Pater. 9 (See Patrick, Saint.) The Irish 
knight died; Guinevere was denounced as a witch and condemned to 
the stake, from which Lancelot rescued her. Her offense was choosing a 
sacred king in the ancient ceremonial style. Pre-Christian legends 
show that each king who ruled Britain had to be chosen by the Triple 
Goddess, and later slain by her Crone form, Morgan, lady of the 
blood-red pentacle and keeper of the Apple-Isle in the west. 10 

Halloween apple-games descended from Celtic feasts of Samhain, 
the Feast of the Dead at the end of October. Catching at apples 
suspended from strings, or bobbing in water, may have invoked hanged 
or drowned witches. The games hinted at cheating Death in the form 
of Cerridwen, another name for Morgan as a Sow-goddess. At the end 
of the game, all players ran away "to escape from the black short- 
tailed sow." 11 

Halloween apples were also used for divination, as if they were 
oracular ghosts called up from the underworld. Such magic was 
especially associated with women, harking back to the pagan tradition of 
female control of the spirits in that world. The Volsung cycle showed 
that a man must be provided with "apples of Hel" by his wife, whose 
gift had the power to preserve him when he died and descended 
under the earth. 12 Thus, Halloween apples were often linked with 
marriage. One who peeled an apple before a candlelit mirror on 
Halloween would see the image of a future spouse. 13 

Apple blossoms were wedding flowers because they represented 
the Virgin form of the Goddess whose maturity produced the fruit. 
As the pagan symbols were Christianized, Apple-Eve-Mother-Goddess 
was said to be reborn as her own younger aspect, Rose-Mary- Virgin- 
Goddess: the five-petaled rose and apple blossom often mystically 
combined. The red and white Alchemical Rose was an allegory of the 
Virgin Mother. 14 Some mystics said Mary, called the Holy Rose, 
had invented alchemy. 15 

However, the dangerous aspect of apples associated with the 
Goddess as Mother Death were never forgotten. Since she was not 
only the Virgin and the Mother but also Hel, or Hecate, her apples 
were often depicted in Christian folklore as poisoned. Churchmen 
declared that a witch could cause demonic possession through her gift of 
an apple to her intended victim. 16 Old women were slain for giving 
an apple to a child or other person who later became afflicted with fits. 

l.Turville-Petre, 187. 2. Hollander, 39. 3. Turville-Petre, 200. 

4. Graves, G.M. 2, 145-46; 277. 5. de Voragine, 67. 

6. Book of the Dead, 454; Budge, E.L., 75. 7. Derlon, 1 57. 8. Groome, xlviii. 

9. Malory 2, 274. 10. Loomis, 342. 1 1 . Hazlitt, 297. 

12. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 165. 13. de Lys, 365. 

14. Campbell, M.I., 254. 15. Ashe, 213. 16. Haining, 70. 



Before Islam arrived in the 7th century a.d., Arabia was matriarchal 
for over a thousand years of recorded history. The Annals of Ashurbani- 
pal said Arabia was governed by queens for as long as anyone could 
remember. 1 The land's original Allah was Al-Lat, part of the female 
trinity along with Kore or Q're, the Virgin, and Al-Uzza, the 
Powerful One, the triad known as Manat, the Threefold Moon. 2 

At Mecca the Goddess was Shaybah or Sheba, the Old Woman, 
worshipped as a black aniconic stone like the Goddess of the Scyth- 
ian Amazons. 3 The same Black Stone now enshrined in the Kaaba at 
Mecca was her feminine symbol, marked by the sign of the yoni, and 
covered like the ancient Mother by a veil. 4 No one seems to know 
exactly what it is supposed to represent today. 

The Black Stone rests in the Haram, "Sanctuary," cognate of 
"harem," which used to mean a Temple of Women: in Babylon, a 
shrine of the Goddess Har, mother of harlots. 5 Hereditary guardians 
of the Haram were the Koreshites, "Children of Kore," Mohammed's 
own tribe. 6 The holy office was originally held by women, before it was 
taken over by male priests calling themselves Beni Shaybah, "Sons of 
the Old Woman." 7 

Mohammed's legends clearly gave him a matriarchal family 
background. His parents' marriage was matrilocal. His mother remained 
with her own family and received her husband as an occasional 
visitor. Mohammed lived with his mother until her death, because she 
was his true parent according to the ancient system; "children 
belonged to the woman's family . . . paternity in the biological sense was 
relatively unimportant." 8 She may well have been one of the "aged 
priestesses" who served the temple in Mecca. 9 The traditions of such 
priestesses may well date back to Assyro- Babylonian um-mati or 
"mothers," the only people permitted to enter the Holy of Holies. 
Archaic Arabian shrines were usually served by seven high priest- 
esses, recalling the lawgiving Seven Sages, who were women. 10 The 
first collection of the books of law called Koran the Word of Kore, 
or Q're was attributed to them. 

Pre-Islamic Arabia was dominated by the female-centered clans. 
Marriages were matrilocal, inheritance matrilineal. Polyandry 
several husbands to one wife was common. Men lived in their wives' 
homes. Divorce was initiated by the wife. If she turned her tent to 
face east for three nights in a row, the husband was dismissed and for- 
bidden to enter the tent again. 11 

Doctrines attributed to Mohammed simply reversed the ancient 
system in favor of men. A Moslem husband could dismiss his wife by 
saying "I divorce thee" three times. As in Europe, the change from 
matriarchate to patriarchate came about only gradually and with 
much strife. 


Annals of 

Ashurbanipal Assyrian 
royal chronicles on 
cuneiform tablets, 
dating from the 7th 
century B.C., found in 
the king's famous 
library at Nineveh by 

Seven Sages Legendary 
figures in both Greek 
and Arabian lore, 
identified with a variety 
of seers and 
philosophers, the 
earliest ones usually 
female, confused with 
the Seven Sisters, or 



Shi'ites Minority sect 
of Islam, tracing 
descent of a sacred 
caliphate from 
Mohammed's daughter 
Fatima and her 
husband 'Ali. One line 
of Shi'ites established 
the powerful Fatimid 
caliphate, now 
represented by the 
Khojas, Bohras, and 
the Druze of Syria. 

Many Koreshites remained faithful to the Goddess and to their 
queen, Hind al-Hunud: the Hind of Hinds, similar to the title of 
Artemis. She was also called Lady of Victory. But her victories came to 
an end with one of the last queens, whose husband betrayed her and 
surrendered her city of Makkah to the enemy. 

Legend claims the step-daughter of the divine Hind married 
Mohammed himself. 12 However, the history of early-medieval Arabia 
is nearly all legend. Like Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and other founders 
of patriarchal religions, Mohammed lacks real verification. There is 
no reliable information about his life or teachings. Most stories about 
him are as apocryphal as the story that his coffin hangs forever in 
mid-air "between heaven and earth," like the bodies of ancient sacred 
kings. 13 

With or without Mohammed, Islam succeeded in becoming com- 
pletely male-dominated, making no place for women except in 
slavery or in the seclusion of the harem. Islamic mosques still bear signs 
reading: "Women and dogs and other impure animals are not 
permitted to enter." H 

Nevertheless, traces of the Goddess proved ineradicable. Like the 
virgin Mary, Arabia's Queen of Heaven received a mortal form and a 
subordinate position as Fatima, Mohammed's "daughter." But she was 
no real daughter. She was known as Mother of her Father, and 
Source of the Sun: "the illumination that separates Light and Darkness; 
the Tree of Paradise; the Red Cow who suckles all the children of the 
earth; Fate; the Night, the World; the Moon; the Pure Essence of 
Being." 15 Like her western counterpart Mary, she was compared to 
the Burning Bush, and the Night of Power; "she personified the center 
of the genealogical mystery." 16 

Fatima's name means The Creatress. A Shi'a text, Omm-al-Kitab, 
said she appeared "at the creation of the material world," crowned, 
seated on a throne, holding a sword, and "ornamented with a million 
varicolored shimmering lights" which illuminated the entire garden of 
Paradise. She was the first to occupy the Seat of Dominion, "the 
resting place of Allah, the Most High." 17 Her symbol as Holy Virgin, 
the crescent moon, still appears on Islamic flags. 18 She is called Al- 
Zahra, "Bright-Blooming," a former title of the Great Mother. It is 
said the symbol of her hand, surmounting the solar disc, "represents the 
whole religion of Islam." 19 

Within Islam, deviant sects like Shi'ites or Sufis carried on Tantric 
worship of the female principle, maintaining that the feminine 
powers of sexuality and maternity were the powers that held the 
universe together. 20 The greatest medieval poet of Sufism, Ibn al- 
Farid, was known as "the sultan of lovers." 21 He said true divinity was 
female, and Mecca was the womb of the earth. As woman-worship- 
ping minstrels of medieval Europe were attacked for their devotion to the 
Goddess of Love, so the Sufis were attacked for their "voluptuous 


libertinism." Ibn El-Arabi, the "greatest master" of Sufi mystics, was Arabia 

accused of blasphemy because he said the godhead is female. 22 

Shi'ites split off from orthodox Islam and claimed to follow a purer ___^_^_^_ 
line of imams directly descended from the Fatimids. In the 1 1th 
century they united under Hasan ibn al-Sabbah, i.e., Hasan ben- 
Shaybah, another "son of the Matriarch." Hasan seized the fortress 
of Alamut and made it the headquarters of a brotherhood of warriors, 
the hashishim or "Assassins" (see Aladdin). The fortress fell to the 
concerted attacks of Mongols and Mamelukes in 1256, after having 
waged war on Turks and Christian crusaders alike for more than a 
century. 23 

Still the Shi'ite sect survived to the present, awaiting the coming of 
the Virgin named Paradise (Pairidaeza), who will give birth to the 
Mahdi, the "moon-guided" Redeemer, whose title in Europe was the 
Desired Knight. 24 

One of the hidden secrets of medieval bardic romance is the 
Arabian origin of the Waste Land motif, most prominent in the Holy 
Grail cycle of tales. Despite monkish efforts to convert it into a 
Christian chalice, the Grail was generally recognized as a female 
symbol, whose loss implied fear for the fertility of the earth. Crusad- 
ers had seen for themselves the desolation of Arabia Deserta, one of the 
most lifeless regions on earth. They heard the Shi'ite heretics' 
explanation for it: Islam had offended the Great Goddess, and she 
had cursed the land and departed. Now nothing would grow there. 

Western mystics thought the same calamity would strike Europe 
if the spirit of the Mother were not brought back from the limbo to 
which the Christian church consigned her. This may have been a 
reason for the frenzy of cathedral-building in honor of "Our Lady," the 
Queen of Heaven, during the 12th and 13th centuries. The Waste 
Land theme haunted the collective psyche of the early Renaissance with 
a threat of conditions actually realized in the land of the infidel. 

Traces of the matriarchate survived to the present among some of 
the Arabs of North Africa, ancient home of "Libyan Amazons." 25 
Targi and Tuareg Berber women remained free of many sexual 
restrictions. Virginity was not prized. On remarriage, a woman could 
command twice the bride-price of a young virgin. Men of the 
Walad 'Abdi tribe insisted the success of their crops depended on the 
sexual freedom of their women, whom the French labeled common 
prostitutes. Hassanyeh Arabs of the White Nile allowed wives to be 
unfaithful on certain days of the week, according to the marriage 
contract drawn up by the bride's mother who took pride in preserving 
her daughter's sexual liberties. 27 Most of Islam, however, restricted 
women as much as possible. Many Islamic theologians said women 
couldn't enter paradise, and must not receive religious instruction 
because it might bring them "too near their masters." 28 

l.Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 120. 2. de Riencourt, 193. 3. Sobol, 55. 4. Harding, 41. 


Arachne 5. Pritchard, S.S., 95. 6. Shah, 390. 7. Briffault 3, 80. 8. de Riencourt, 188. 

_ . 9. Briffault 3, 80. 10. Briffault 1, 377. 1 1 . de Riencourt, 1 87-89. 

Ardhanansvara 12. Beard, pp. 293-94. 13. de Camp, A.E., 153. 14. Farb, W.P., 144. 

15. Lederer, 181. 16. Campbell, Oc.M., 446. 17. Campbell, Oc.M., 445-46. 

^^^^^^^ 18. Briffault 2, 630. 19. Budge, A.T., 469. 20. Bullough, 1 50. 

21. Encyc. Brit., "Sufism." 22. Shah, 263, 319. 23. Encyc. Brit, "Assassins." 
24. Lederer, 181. 25. Wendt, 52. 26. Briffault 1, 286; 3, 200, 314. 
27. Hartley, 166. 28. Crawley 1, 58. 


"Spider" or "Spinner," title and totem of Athene the Fate-weaver. 
Man's helplessness in the web of Fate was symbolized by the helpless- 
ness of the fly in the spider's web. The fly was a common archaic 
symbol of the human soul, even thought to be the actual embodiment 
of the soul in passage from one life to the next; thus divine 
psychopomps like Baal-Zebub (Beelzebub) were called "Lord of 
Flies" because they conducted souls. 1 

Classical writers misinterpreted old images of Athene with her 
spider-totem and web, and constructed the legend of Arachne, a 
mortal maid whose skill in weaving outshone even that of the Goddess. 
Therefore Athene turned her into a spider. 2 

1. Spence, 95-96. 2. Graves, CM. 1, 98. 


Medieval name for the Queen of Witches, called a daughter of the 
Goddess Diana. The name may have been a corruption of Herodias. 
She represented the moon, and her brother Lucifer the Light-bringer 
represented the sun. 1 
1. B.Butler, 215. 


Iranian Earth-goddess, ancestress of the Aramaeans, whose language 
was the original language of the Gospels. Ara-ma-iti seems to have 
meant "mother of the people made of clay." 


Bisexual image of the merging of Kali Ma and Shiva: a body female 
on the left side, male on the right side. 1 Other gods followed the same 
two-sexed pattern. Sometimes the deity was two-headed and four- 
armed, though known as "the One." See Androgyne; Left Hand. 

1. Larousse, 371. 



Ariadne Ariadne 

"Most Holy" or "High Fruitful Mother," the younger form of the Arianism 

Cretan Moon-goddess, worshipped at Amathus as a consort of hh^^^ 

Dionysus. 1 Hellenic myth disparaged her and made her a mere mortal 

maiden who helped Theseus survive the Cretan Labyrinth, ran away 

with him, and was abandoned when he wearied of her. However, her 

subsequent mating with the god showed that she was the rightful 

bride of gods to begin with. 2 

1. Graves, W.G., 93. 2. Graves, CM. 1, 347; 2, 381. 


Archaic name of Iran and its Great Goddess, sometimes rendered 


Early Christian heresy founded by Arius in the 4th century a.d. The 
basic tenet of Arianism was that God was not a trinity but a unit or 

Orphics and other mystery-cultists of the early Christian era 
maintained the classic trinitarian pattern laid down thousands of years 
before by the Triple Goddess. They said: "All things are made by one 
godhead in three names, and this god is all things." From the 
mystery-cults, some Christians picked up the idea that their deity too 
should be a trinity. Other Christians objected, saying their deity must 
be a monad like the Jewish Jehovah. St. Augustine found the notion of a 
trinity incomprehensible. He scoffed at his pagan neighbors for 
calling their Great Goddess three persons and one person at the same 
time. 1 

Neither the Old nor the New Testament mentioned a triune God, 
so early Pauline Christians worshipped God as one individual. How- 
ever, this monotheistic idea was abandoned at the 4th-century Council 
of Nicaea. Arian Christians, clinging to the Hebraic belief in an 
undivided God, suddenly found themselves labeled heretics. In increas- 
ingly acrimonious battles, partisans of one viewpoint or the other 
engaged in street fighting with stones and clubs, bloodying their oppo- 
nents to prove the nature of their deity. 2 

Arius's objections to the Holy Trinity were basically logical. He 
insisted that a divine son couldn't have co-existed eternally with his 
own divine father. There must have been a time when the father existed 
alone, before bringing the son into being. But Arius's opponents 
wanted to be assured that, in assimilating the body and blood of Christ 
in communion, they partook of an infinite divinity who had existed 


Arianrhod from the beginning of time. Otherwise they might be robbed of immor- 

tality, through unwise identification with a lesser, finite power. 
^^^^^^^^^^^ Therefore they insisted that Christ and God were one and the same. 

Besides, pagan traditions universally supported the notion that 
divine fathers and sons were identical with each other, cyclically 
alternating and united through the Mother. Proponents of the trinitar- 
ian theory borrowed myths and symbols from the pagans, and said 
when the Magi saw the star in the east announcing Christ's birth, three 
suns appeared in the sky and fused into one. 3 

The emperor Constantine I at first defended Arius, because he 
liked the idea of a single supreme deity whom he might identify with 
himself. He also disliked the Christians' incessant sectarian strife. He 
wrote to Bishop Alexander: "I am sending to you, not simply suggest- 
ing, but imploring that you will take these men (the Arians) back . . . 
that there is peace and concord among you all." 4 This was ignored. 

The Council decided that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost were 
one and the same, forever co-existent, equally potent. Arius was 
anathematized and driven into exile. At last he succumbed to a dose of 
poison, apparently administered by one of his trinitarian opponents. 5 
But the battle was not over. The Arian controversy dragged on for 
many centuries, and spilled much blood, as theological arguments 
were wont to do in those days. 

After 360 a.d., Arianism was carried by missionaries to the Ger- 
manic tribes, whose Christianity remained a vaguely Arian semi- 
paganism up to the time of Charlemagne and beyond. 6 Arianism came 
to the surface again in Hungary and Transylvania during the 16th 
century. Christian writers then denied the trinity altogether, starting a 
movement that led ultimately to the foundation of Unitarian churches. 7 

l.Briffault3,90. 2. de Camp, A.E., 282. Voragine,49. 

4. J.H. Smith, C.G., 242. 5. Gibbon 1, 694. 6. Encyc. Brit, "Arianism." 

7. Encyc. Brit, "Unitarianism." 


Goddess mother of Celtic "Aryans," keeper of the endlessly circling 
Silver Wheel of the Stars, symbol of Time, the same as Kali's kar- 
mic wheel. Some gave the Goddess herself the title of "Silver Wheel 
That Descends into the Sea." l 

Arianrhod's wheel was also the Wheel of Light, Wheel of Fal, or 
Oar Wheel. It was often likened to a vast ship carrying dead warriors 
to the Moon-land, called Magonia or Emania or Hy-Many. The wheel 
was made by "three druidesses" that is, the Triple Goddess, who 
created the cosmic wheel of the zodiac or the Milky Way. 2 Arianrhod 
seems to have been the same Goddess as Ariadne, another version 
of the "mother of Aryans." 3 

I. Briffault 3, 71. 2. Spence, 65, 152-53. 3. Graves, W.G., 93. 



-littite name of the Great Goddess as "Mother of the Sun." In 
Mesopotamia and Egypt, the sun god was generally considered a child 
)f the moon-, earth-, sea-, or heaven-goddess. 


Vrk of the Covenant 

)n its earliest appearances in the Bible, the ark of the covenant was so 
acer (taboo, dangerous) that it would kill at a touch. While it was 
eing transported on an oxcart, it teetered "because the oxen shook 
:" and would have fallen, had not Uzzah "put forth his hand to the ark 
if God, and took hold of it" (2 Samuel 6:3). In spite of Uzzah's good 
itentions, God instantly struck him dead for daring to touch the 
loly object. 

Again, when the ark returned from Philistia, God perpetrated an 
xtraordinary slaughter of 50,070 well-intentioned people for daring 
3 look inside the ark in their joy: "And he smote the men of 
lethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even 
e smote of tlfe people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and 
le people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the 
eople with a great slaughter" (1 Samuel 6:19). 

Even priests feared the power of the ark, and resorted to ritual 
/ashing before approaching it, "that they die not" (Exodus 30:20). 
Vater was a common prophylactic charm against the destructive power 
f holy things. Philon of Byzantium said all the "ancients" used water 
)r ritual purification before entering temples; they also spun prayer- 
'heels made of Aphrodite's sacred metal, copper. 1 

For some reason God lost interest in his ark by Jeremiah's time: 
Saith the Lord, they shall say no more, the ark of the covenant of 
le Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; 
either shall it be magnified any more" (Jeremiah 3:16). 

The probable cause of God's change of heart was a reform 
lovement to purge the temple of sexual symbols. The arks or cistae of 
le Greeks and Syrians held emblems of the lingam-yoni, such as eggs 
nd serpents, clay or dough models of genitalia. Rabbinical tradition 
lid the ark contained a hexagram representing the sexual union of God 
nd Goddess, the same meaning given to the hexagram in India. 2 
'hus the ark was a female container for a male god. Mary, God's 
Dnsort in her later form, often received the title of "Ark." 

Semitic Arek, "ark," descended from Hindu Argha, "great ship," 
letaphorically the Great Yoni: a female-sexual vessel bearing seeds 
f life through the sea of chaos between destruction of one cosmos and 
reation of the next. 3 From the same root came "arcane," literally a 
ark or crescent phase of the moon. The crescent moon boat symbol- 
ed the Goddess's spirit dancing on her primordial uterine Ocean of 

var. Arinniti 


Armathr Blood, whose "clots" would form the lands and creatures of a new 

Artemis universe. Noah's version of the Argha came to Palestine via Sumeria 

^^^^^^^^^^ and Babylon (see Flood), but was intensively re-interpreted by Jewish 
patriarchs anxious to eliminate the female principle. 

1. de Camp, A.E., 122. 2. Silberer, 197. 3. Jobes, 121. 


"Mother of Prosperity," the Goddess incarnate in a sacred stone 
revered by Icelandic chieftains, who ignored Christianity until the 1 1th 
or 12th century a.d. 1 Remote Iceland was among the last areas to be 
Christianized; therefore the pagan sagas (Eddas) and other literature 
survived the fires of censorship. 


Artemidos, Saint 

Fictitious Christian saint based on a votive idol of the Goddess 
Artemis. 1 In some traditions she remained female, but in others she lost 
even her femininity and was described as a holy man. 

1. H.Smith, 227. 


Amazonian Moon-goddess, worshipped at Ephesus under the Latin 
name of Diana or "Goddess-Anna." Like the Hindu Goddess Saranyu 
who gave birth to all animals, she was called Mother of Creatures. 
Her image at Ephesus had a whole torso covered with breasts, to show 
that she nurtured all living things. Yet she was also the Huntress, 
killer of the very creatures she brought forth. 1 In Sparta her name was 
given as Artamis, "Cutter," or "Butcher." 2 

Artemis's myths extend back to Neolithic sacrificial customs. At 
Taurus her holy women, under their high priestess Iphigeneia, 
sacrificed all men who landed on their shores, nailing the head of each 
victim to a cross. 3 At Hierapolis, the Goddess's victims were hung on 
artificial trees in her temple. In Attica, Artemis was ritually propitiated 
with drops of blood drawn from a man's neck by a sword, a symbolic 
remnant of former beheadings. Human victims were later replaced by 
bulls, hence the Goddess's title Tauropolos, "bull-slayer." 4 

Her Huntress aspect was another form of the destroying Crone or 
waning moon. Like Hecate, she led the nocturnal hunt; her pries- 
tesses wore the masks of hunting dogs. Alani, "hunting dogs," was the 
Greek name for Scythians who revered Artemis. The mythological 
hunting dogs who tore the Horned God Actaeon to pieces were really 
Artemis's sacred bitches. 

Classic mythographers pretended that Actaeon committed the sin 
of seeing the chaste virgin Goddess in her bath, and she condemned 


him out of offended modesty. Actually, the bath, the nakedness, and the 
tearing to pieces of the sacred king were all part of the drama. In 
barbarian Germany, the Goddess's ritual bath could be witnessed only 
by "men doomed to die." 5 Actaeon's deerskin and antlers marked 
him as the pre-Hellenic stag king, reigning over the sacred hunt for half 
a Great Year before he was torn to pieces and replaced by his tanist 
(co-king). In the first century a.d., Artemis's priestesses still pursued and 
killed a man dressed as a stag on the Goddess's mountain. 6 Her 
groves became the "deer-gardens" (German Tiergarten, Swedish Djur- 
garden), once the scene of venison feasts. 

One of Artemis's most popular animal incarnations was the Great 
She-Bear, Ursa Major, ruler of the stars and protectress of the axis 
mundi, Pole of the World, marked in heaven by the Pole Star at the 
center of the small circle described by the constellation Ursa Major. 
Helvetian tribes in the neighborhood of Berne worshipped her as the 
She-Bear, which is still the heraldic symbol of Berne. The city's very 
name means "She-Bear." 7 Sometimes the Helvetians called her Artio, 
shortened to Art by Celtic peoples who coupled her with the bear- 
king Arthur. As Artio's Lord of the Hunt, the medieval god of witches 
came to be known as "Robin son of Art." According to the Irish, Art 
meant "God," but its earlier connotation was "Goddess" specifically 
the Bear-Goddess. 8 She was also canonized as a Christian saint, 
Ursula, derived from her Saxon name of Ursel, the She-Bear. 

There was a rather sophisticated astronomical reason for worship- 
ping the heavenly She-Bear who followed her track around the Pole 
Star, year by year. It was probably discovered first in the far east. "The 
months and seasons are determined by the revolution of Ursa Major. 
The tail of the constellation pointing to the east at nightfall announces 
the arrival of spring, pointing to the south the arrival of summer, 
pointing to the west the arrival of autumn, and pointing to the north the 
arrival of winter. . . . The Great Bear occupies a prominent position 
in the Taoist heavens as the aerial throne of the supreme deity." This 
deity in Taoist tradition is the Queen of Heaven, Holy Mother Ma 
Tsu P'o, with characteristics similar to those of Artemis. She protects 
seafarers and governs the weather; she is called a virgin, and Matron 
of the Measure; she is a Mother of Mercy who has been compared to 
the virgin Mary and to the Buddhist Goddess Maritchi. 9 

The axis mundi was often associated with male gods, as either a 
Great Serpent or a World Tree more or less recognized as a phallic 
symbol. Similarly the Little Bear within the circle of the Great Bear was 
pictured by the Greeks as Areas, her son (see Callisto). Yet among 
the oldest traditions may be found hints that this world-supporting tree 
or pole was female. Even as Yggdrasil, the World Tree of the 
Vikings, it showed many parallels with birth-giving, fruit- or milk- 
producing mother trees of the Near East, under its older name of 
Mjotvidr or Mutvidr, "Mother-Tree." Sometimes it was Mead-Tree, 
like "the milk-giving tree of the Finno-Ugric peoples, a symbol which 
must go back ultimately to Mesopotamia, and be of great antiquity." It 


Ursa Major "Great 
Bear," colloquially 
called the Big 
Dipper, a circumpolar 
constellation with 
seven bright stars 
including the "north 
pole pointers." For a 
brief time the 
constellation was 
renamed Charles's 
Wain, after the chariot 
of Charlemagne. 



Tatian 2nd-century 
Christian apologist of 
Greek education and 
Gnostic leanings. His 
doctrine absolutely 
forbade marriage for all 

St. John Chrysostom, 

John," 4th-century 
Christian orator who 
served as Patriarch of 
Constantinople until he 
incurred the wrath of 
the empress Eudoxia, 
who arranged to 
have him deposed and 

was said that "the tree is the source of unborn souls," which would 
give birth to the new primal woman, Life (Lif) in the new universe after 
the present cycle came to an end. Its fruit could be given to women 
in childbirth "that what is within may pass out." The spring at the tree's 
root was a fountain of wisdom or of the life-giving fluid aurr, which 
may be likened to the "wise blood" of the Mother that much- 
mythologized feminine life-source likened to the Kula nectar in the 
uterine spring of Kundalini, as if the maternal tree upholding the 
universe were the Mother's spine with its many chakras. 10 See 
Menstrual Blood. 

"Many-breasted" Artemis was always a patroness of nurture, 
fertility, and birth. Male gods turned against these attributes in 
opposing the cult of the Goddess. Her own twin brother and sometime 
consort Apollo made birth illegal on his sacred isle of Delos; 
pregnant women had to be removed from the island lest they offend the 
god by giving birth there. 11 Christians continued to vilify Artemis. 
Tatian said, "Artemis is a poisoner; Apollo performs cures." 12 The 
Gospels demanded destruction of Artemis's Ephesian temple (Acts 
19:27). St. John Chrysostom preached against this temple in 406 a.d. 
Soon afterward, it was looted and burned. The patriarch of Constan- 
tinople praised Chrysostom's zeal: "In Ephesus he stripped the treasury 
of Artemis; in Phrygia, he left without sons her whom they called the 
Mother of the Gods." 13 See Diana. 

1. Neumann, G.M., 276 (pi. 35). 2. Graves, G.M. 1, 86. 3. Herodotus, 244. 

4. Graves, G.M. 1, 86; 2, 79. 5. Tacitus, 728. 6. Graves, G. M. 1, 85. 

7 Urousst, 226. 8. Joyce 1, 249. 9. Williams, 30, 336-38, 371-73. 

10. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 195. 11. Halliday, 29. 12. Graves, W.G., 433. 

13. J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 175. 


Sanskrit "Riches" or "Abundance," root of Indo-European names 
for Mother Earth: Ertha, Hretha, Eortha, etc. The Earth Mother Frigg 
(Freya) also bore a name meaning Wealth; so did Rhea-Pluto, Ops 
Opulentia, and Terra Mater. See Earth. 


King Arthur was the Welsh Arth Vawr, Heavenly Bear. His prede- 
cessor or "father" was Uther Pendragon, "Wonderful Head of the 
Dragon." 1 Where did the dragon's head precede the bear? At the 
hub of the heavens, which the ancients always anxiously watched. 

In the 3rd millenium b.c, the north pole star was not the present 
Polaris in Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. It was Alpha Draconis, the 
Head of the Dragon. 2 Due to precession of the equinoxes, a slow subtle 
shift of the celestial pole took place over the course of 5000 years. 
However difficult it may have been to observe, the ancients seem to 


have known about it. India as well as Britain placed the former north 
pole in the constellation of the Dragon. The Mahabharata said the pole 
star, to which "the yoke of the world" was fixed, was the head of the 
Great Serpent. 3 

Greeks said the little bear-god who replaced the serpent was Areas, 
ancestor of the Arcadians. His mother was Artemis Calliste, the 
Great She-Bear who used to rule all the stars. 4 As Ursa Major, she still 
circles the pole. Western Europeans called her Artio, Art, Ursel, or 
Ercel. 5 Arthur was a Celtic version of her son, spouse, sacred king. 

Arthur was another humanization of an old pagan god apparent- 
ly very old, for he had no credible human parentage but rather many 
contradictory miraculous-birth myths. Some said he had no father. Like 
the Norse god Heimdall and the Saxon hero Scyld, he was born of 
the Ninefold Sea-goddess and cast ashore on the ninth wave, to land at 
Merlin's feet. 6 Bulfinch's Mythology said Arthur's father was Ambro- 
sius, an earlier name for Merlin. 

The story of Uther Pendragon's fatherhood of Arthur bears marks 
of strained revision. Arthur's royal mother was married to Uther's 
rival at the time. Uther was far away, but with Merlin's help he sent his 
spirit to her in the guise of her husband, while the latter was being 
killed. Arthur was begotten at the instant his official father died. He was 
taken away by Merlin to be raised in a secret place until he came of 
age the cliche secret upbringing of every sacred king's career. 

Arthur's mother was really the Triple Goddess, incarnate in the 
queen as usual. Her three daughters represented herself in triad: 
Elaine, the virgin Lily Maid; Margawse, mother of the four Aeons; 
Morgan, Queen of the Shades. Arthur later coupled with his sister 
Margawse and incestuously begot his own son-nephew-supplanter, 
Mordred, who was likewise taken away at birth to be raised in hiding. 

As Galahad was the reincarnated Lancelot, so Mordred was the 
reincarnated Arthur, destined to succeed him by both matrilineal and 
patrilineal right, as both sister's-son and son. Like all kings threatened by 
the Oedipal rival, Arthur tried to kill Mordred by a Slaughter of the 
Innocents. He collected all the children born on May Day, the birthday 
of his prophesied supplanter, put them on a ship, and sent them out 
to sea to be wrecked. Of course Mordred survived the wreck and grew 
up to return incognito to Arthur's court. 8 

Arthur lost his sacred mana when he lost his queen, the Triple 
Goddess incarnate in Guinevere, who was really three Guineveres 
according to the Welsh Triads. 9 Mordred seized her, thus symbolically 
seizing the kingdom, and brought Arthur to his death. 

When Arthur died, the same Triple Goddess took him back into 
the sea that gave him birth. "Three fairy queens" carried him away to 
the western isles of paradise, singing his death-song, the kind of song 
Welsh bards called marwysgafen giving-back-to-the-sea-mother. 10 
The three fairy queens were really the final triad of the Ninefold 
Goddess, Morgan le Fay and two of her alter egos: the Queen of 



Indian epic poem, 
consisting of historical 
and legendary 
material gathered 
between the 4th and 
10th centuries a.d., 
including the famous 

Welsh Triads 

Poetic literature of pre- 
Christian Wales, drawn 
from the bards' oral 

Ninefold Goddess 

The triple trinity, as 
exemplified by the 
Nine Muses of Greece, 
the Nine Sisters of 
Scandinavia, the Nine 
Morgans of the 
Fortunate Isles, etc. 




British branch of Celts, 
including speakers of 
the Welsh, Cornish, 
and Breton 

Northgallis (i.e., North Gaul, or Brittany), and the Queen of the 
Westerlands, which meant the isles of the dead. 11 These isles were 
said to be ruled by nine fairy sisters, the leader of whom was Morgan. 

Arthur's legends generally suggest no human king, but a Brythonic 
god, whom Johnson called a Celtic Zeus. 12 He may have been 
incarnate in one or several warrior kings for brief periods, but his basic 
story was mythic rather than historical. 

1. Hitching, 242. 2. Encyc. Brit, "Precession of the Equinoxes." 
3. O'Flaherty, 274, 131.4. Graves, G.M. 1, 86. 5. Joyce 1, 249. 
6.Guerber,L.M.A.,215. 7. Hallet, 388. 8. Malory 1, 35,45. 9. Malory 1 , xxiv. 
10. Encyc. Brit, "Welsh Literature." 1 1 . Guerber, L.M.A., 232. 
12. Johnson, 85. 


General name for Indo-European peoples, from Sanskrit arya, a man 
of clay (like Adam), or else a man of the land, a farmer or land- 
owner. 1 The ancestral god of "Aryans" was Aryaman, one of the 
twelve zodiacal sons of the Hindu Great Goddess Aditi. In Persia he 
became known as Ahriman, the dark earth god, opponent or 
subterranean alter ego of the solar deity Ormazd (Ahura Mazda). In 
Celtic Ireland he was Eremon, one of the sacred kings who married 
the Earth (Tara). 

Though there was nothing "pure" about either the name or the 
far-flung mixture of tribes it was supposed to describe, the term 
"pure Aryan" was revived in Nazi Germany to support a mythological 
concept of Teutonic stock, the so-called Master Race. Non-Aryans 
were all the "inferior" strains: Semites, Negroes, gypsies, Slavs, and 
Latinate or "swarthy" people whose blood was said to be polluting 
the Nordic superiority of their betters. 

1. Potter & Sargent, 33. 


The religion of self-denial, such as practiced by early Christian 
eremites, characterized by self-inflicted pain, hunger, and other auster- 
ities, and renunciation of sensual pleasures. 

Perhaps the earliest sectaries to regard asceticism as the key 
to heaven were Jain Buddhists (see Jains), whose theology influenced 
Persian patriarchs, who in turn influenced Jewish eremites like the 
Essenes. Jain Buddhist monks had already penetrated the courts of 
Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Epirus by the 4th century B.C., and 
were glorified in legend for the alleged magic powers they developed 
through prodigies of self-denial. 1 

Originally, men's ascetic practices seem to have evolved from a 
notion that extreme forms of self-denial would bring them the 
magical female capacity to give birth. Oriental myths said the first 


creator-gods acquired the ability to produce living things by "practic- 
ing fierce asceticism for ten thousand years." 2 

Though men never achieved the ability to give birth, they claimed 
other miraculous powers developed by asceticism. Perfected eremites 
were said to fly, to walk on water, to understand all languages, to turn 
base metals into gold, to heal lameness and blindness, and other 
miracles that became the common property of all scriptures including 
the Christian ones. 5 

Jain Buddhists looked upon women as hopelessly inferior in the 
pursuit of asceticism. Their handbook said no woman could achieve 
Nirvana, because "in the womb, between the breasts, in their navel and 
loins, a subtle emanation of life is continually taking place. How then 
can they be fit for self-control? A woman may be pure in faith and even 
occupied with a study of the sutras or the practice of a terrific 
asceticism; in her case there will be no falling away of karmic matter." 4 

Some of the ascetics openly despised sexuality and motherhood. 
The Mahabharata anticipated St. Augustine's remarks about the 
nastiness of birth: "-Man emerges mixed with excrement and water, 
fouled with the impurities of woman. A wise man will avoid the 
contaminating society of women as he would the touch of bodies 
infested with vermin." 5 Some advertised their renunciation of sex by 
castrating themselves or affixing large metal rings in the flesh of the 
penis. 6 

Essenic Judaism and early Christianity were offshoots of the Jain 
tradition, urging abandonment of the family and of all secular 
concerns. 7 Like the art of the Jains, Christian art in the early medieval 
period showed stiff, crude, doll-like figures, apparently bodiless under 
their wooden draperies, even hands and faces badly drawn. Not even 
artists were permitted to study the human form. 8 To look at some- 
thing attractive especially if it was made of flesh was highly suspect 
because the observer might enjoy the act of looking. According to St. 
Jerome, a Christian must consider poisonous every act or experience 
having the smallest hint of sensual pleasure. 9 

Pain, however, was permitted and encouraged throughout the 
Christian era. St. Catherine of Siena was highly praised for whipping 
herself three times a day, once for her own sins, once for the sins of the 
living, and once for the sins of the dead. St. Simeon Stylites was 
glorified for remaining motionless on top of his pillar, like Buddhist 
standing-yogis, until his living flesh rotted. 10 

Fathers of the church constantly urged asceticism upon the faith- 
ful. Gregory of Nyssa touted it in terms of both wetness and dryness: 
"As the tympanum, from which all moisture has been removed so that it 
is exceedingly dry, gives out a loud noise, so also is virginity, which 
receives no life-giving moisture, illustrious and renowned." " Again he 
said: "We often see water, contained in a pipe, bursting upward 
through this constraining force, which will not let it leak, and this in 
spite of its natural gravitation; in the same way the mind of man, 



Indian epic poem, 
consisting of 
historical and legendary 
material gathered 
between the 4th and 
10th centuries a.d., 
including the famous 


Asceticism enclosed in the compact channel of an habitual continence, and not 

having any side issues, will be raised by virtue of its natural powers of 
^ B| ^ B ^^^^ B i^^ motion to an exalted love." n 

Moral tales told by the Christian fathers concentrated on renuncia- 
tion of sexual love, and acceptance of painful martyrdom. The tale of 
Sts. Cyprian and Justina is typical. Cyprian, a pagan sorcerer, fell in love 
with the Christian maiden Justina and cast a love spell on her. 
Though sworn to virginity like all good Christian maidens, Justina was 
tortured by desire. Nevertheless she conquered her desire and proved 
her piety with such prodigies of asceticism that she impressed even 
Cyprian: she fasted almost to death, she slept naked on the stony 
ground, she mutilated herself to spoil her beauty. 13 Cyprian was so 
intrigued by all this he turned Christian too, and was martyred along 
with his incorrigible virgin. 14 

Human love was anathema to the early Christians who insisted 
that families must be abandoned. Sexual impulses were perverted 
into unnatural obsessions. 15 The fall of Rome was not entirely unrelated 
to Christians' abhorrence of the basic social unit of the state: the 
interlocked loyalties and dependencies of the family. Jesus himself 
undermined the family in his teaching: "If any man come to me, and 
hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and breth- 
ren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" 
(Luke 14:26). Becker says Christianity stood for "renunciation of this 
world and the satisfactions of this life, which is why the pagans thought 
Christianity was crazy. It was a sort of anti-heroism by an animal who 
denied life in order to deny evil." 16 

Principles of asceticism so embedded themselves in Christian 
society that nearly every kind of sensual pleasure came to be regarded 
as wicked only because it was pleasant. The delights of sacramental 
dancing were forbidden. A story from Ramersdorf in the Rhine- 
land tells of a Christian missionary priest who found youths and maidens 
dancing together on the Sabbath. He called God's curse on them, 
which forced them to go on dancing day and night until they lost their 
minds. 17 Some European peasants still abstain from sexual inter- 
course during the sowing season, in the church-fostered belief that 
sexual activity might call down a curse on the crop. 18 

In the 18th century, theologians were still preaching the wicked- 
ness of even the most subtle feelings of pleasure. Beaumont 
counseled women especially to attribute any enjoyable bodily sensation 
to the devil's influence: "If ye perceive a sudden sweet taste in your 
mouths or feel any warmth in your breasts, like fire, or any form of 
pleasure in any part of your body, or ... if ye become aware by 
occasion of pleasure or satisfaction derived from such perception, that 
your hearts are drawn away from the contemplation of Jesus Christ 
and from spiritual exercises . . . then this sensation is very much to be 
suspected of coming from the Enemy; and therefore were it ever so 
wonderful and striking, still renounce it." 19 Yet the obsessive contem- 


plation of pain, starting with Jesus's pain on the cross, was always to Asceticism 

be encouraged. 

The most significant difference between Christianity and its pagan ^^^^^^^^^_ 
forerunners was this reversal of the pleasure-pain continuum. Earlier 
societies regarded sensual pleasure as a touch of divinity, and "bliss" 
sexual or otherwise as a foretaste of heaven. Woman was a carrier 
of the divine spark because of her capacity to give and receive physical 
pleasure. The Christian theory turned this opinion completely 
around. Fathers of the church taught that the human race must die out 
through universal celibacy, before Jesus could return and establish his 
heaven on earth. Reasoning that man fell from grace through woman, 
man could return to grace only by renouncing woman. 20 Therefore, 
medieval churchmen came to identify sexuality with the worst of 
heresies and sins, especially since St. Augustine had labeled it the 
pipeline of original sin. Even Protestant theologians adopted this view. 
Calvin said that, because of its origin in sexuality and in a woman's 
body, every child was "defiled and polluted" in God's sight even before 
it saw the light of the day; a newborn infant is a "seed-bed of sin and 
therefore cannot but be odious and abominable to God." Martin Luther 
married an ex-nun, but still didn't think much of sex. He said, "Had 
God consulted me in the matter, I would have advised him to continue 
the generation of the species by fashioning them out of clay." 21 

This note of arrogance, even hubris, in the idea of man issuing 
instructions to God, was always a hidden component of asceticism, 
despite its outward show of extreme or unnatural humility. "Nothing is 
prouder than the humility of the ascetic of other-worldly spirit that 
proclaims itself superior to the whole natural world, or than the 
mysticism that renounces the self only to commune with God 
himself." 22 Here lies the real reason for men's secret delight in ascetic 
principles and practices. It must be remembered that the original 
purpose of such self-denial was to become identified with a god and to 
acquire God's sacred powers for one's self. 

Becoming a god meant acquiring the ability to perform miracles, as 
many Christian ascetics were supposed to have done. By definition, 
miracles flouted the laws of nature. Thus the ascetic became deliberate- 
ly un-natural, confusing the denial of his own instinctual desires with 
denial of Mother Nature's observed habits. Ascetic ideals therefore 
placed body and spirit in conflict with each other. "Asceticism is the 
ethical code which arises inevitably from a dualistic opposition between 
the spiritual and the natural. These are represented as absolutely irre- 
concilable and mutually antagonistic; if a man is to escape the natural he 
must renounce the rights of his physical nature in the interests of his 
spiritual." 25 The psychic problem of such dualistic opinion is still much 
in evidence. 

1. Campbell, CM., 146. 2. 0'Flaherty, 32, 47. 

3. Menen, 93; Tatz & Kent, 167; Bardo Thodol, 1 58. 4. Campbell, Or.M., 237. 
5. Menen, 17. 6. Rawson, E.A., 48. 7. Campbell, Or.M., 279. 8. Zimmer, 56 
9.Mumford, 145. 10. Encyc. Brit, "Simeon." 11. Ashe, 176. 12. Mumford, 139. 


Asherah !' Ashe, 178. 14. Attwater, 97. 1 5. H. Smith, 228-29. 16. Becker, E.E., 1 54. 

..... . 17.Guerber,L.R., 111. 18. Fra/er, G.B., 159. 19. Silherer, 284-85. 

Ash Wednesday 2 0. Lederer, 165. 21. Holmes, 35, 71. 22. Muller, 32. 23. Angus, 219. 


Semitic name of the Great Goddess, possibly from Old Iranian asha, 
"Universal Law," a law of the matriarch, like Roman ius naturale. 1 
Asherah was "in wisdom the Mistress of the Gods." 2 Sumerians 
called her Ashnan, "strength of all things," and "a kindly and bountiful 
maiden." 3 Her sacred city Mar-ash appears in the Bible as Mareshah 
(Joshua 15:44). 

The Old Testament "Asherah" is translated "grove," without any 
explanation that the sacred grove represented the Goddess's genital 
center, birthplace of all things. In the matriarchal period, Hebrews 
worshipped the Goddess in groves (1 Kings 14:23), later cut down by 
patriarchal reformers who burned the bones of Asherah's priests on their 
own altars (2 Chronicles 24:4-5). 

The Goddess's grove-yoni was Athra qaddisa, "the holy place" 
(literally, "divine harlot"). Sometimes she was called simply "Holi- 
ness," a word later applied to Yahweh. Canaanites called her Qaniyatu 
elima, She Who Gives Birth to the Gods, or Rabbatu athiratu 
yammi, Lady Who Traverses the Sea (i.e., the Moon). 4 Rabbatu was an 
early female form of rabbi. Athirat, Athra, Aethra, Athyr, and Egypt's 
Hathor were all variations of the same name for the Goddess. 5 In Egypt 
she was also a Law-giving Mother, Ashesh, an archaic form of Isis; 
the name meant both "pouring out" and "supporting," the functions of 
her breasts. Her yonic shrine in Thebes was Asher, Ashrel, or Ashrelt. 
Some called her "Great Lady of Ashert, the lady of heaven, the queen 
of the gods." 6 

For a while, Asherah accepted the Semitic god El as her consort. 
She was the Heavenly Cow, he the Bull. 7 After their sacred marriage, 
she bore the Heavenly Twins, Shaher and Shalem, the stars of morning 
and evening (see Lucifer). The marriage rite seems to have involved 
the cooking of a kid in its mother's milk, a procedure later forbidden by 
Jewish priests (Exodus 23:19). 8 

1. Larousse, 312; Bachofen, 192. 2. Larousse, 76. 3. Hays, 57; Hooke, M.E.M., 27. 
4. Albright, 121,210. 5. Hooke, M.E.M., 70. 6. Budge, G.E. 2, 90. 7. Larousse, 74. 
8. Hooke, M.E.M., 93 

Ash Wednesday 

This allegedly Christian festival was taken from Roman paganism, 
which in turn took it from Vedic India. Ashes were called the seed of 
the fire god Agni, with power to absolve all sins. Even if a man does 
"a thousand things that one ought not to do, by bathing in ashes he will 
cause all of that to be burnt to ashes as fire burns a forest with its ener- 
gy." Another source said ashes stood for the purifying blood of Shiva, in 


which one could bathe away sins, as Christians bathed in the blood of 
the Lamb. 1 

At Rome's New Year Feast of Atonement in March, people wore 
sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for their sins. 2 Then as now, 
New Year's Eve was a carnival of eating, drinking, and sinning, on the 
theory that all sins would be wiped out the following day. As the 
dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers' sins with him into 
death. Therefore the carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars. In 
English this was Tuesday, because Mars was identified with the Saxon 
god Tiw. In French the carnival day was Mardi Gras, "Fat Tues- 
day," the day of merrymaking before Ash Wednesday. 

A Catholic directory of 1 5 1 1 ordered priests to say to the congre- 
gation on Ash Wednesday, "Remember, man, you are ashes and to 
ashes will return." Fuller's Church History said the purpose of Ash 
Wednesday was to remind every man that he is "but ashes and earth, 
and thereto shall return." 5 These maxims oddly contradicted the 
church's official doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh. Their purpose 
was to justify with* some Christian gloss the ancient notion that 
redemption might be brought about by contact with ashes. 

1. O'Flaherty, 148-49, 174. 2. Encyc. Brit., "Ash Wednesday." 3. Hazlitt, 19. 


Fuller's Church 
History A monumental 
history of the English 
church by Thomas 
Fuller (1608-1661). 


Christian demon often credited with possessing nuns or young 
women to make them lustful, because he was portrayed in the Book of 
Tobit as a spirit of lechery. Tobit's Asmodeus was really "the god 
Asmo," or Aeshma, a Persian deity associated with Ahriman. Zoroastri- 
an priests may have brought about his original diabolization because 
of an archaic connection with the Goddess Ma. 1 

1 . Larousse, 3 1 8. 

Book of Tobit One 

of the Apocrypha, once 
accepted as part of 
the Judeo-Christian 
canon of sacred 
scriptures but later elim- 
inated from the 
official canon. 


The ass-god Pales had an extensive cult throughout the ancient 
world. Palestine, Philistia, and the Palatine Hill in Rome were named 
for Pales, who was both male and female. 1 

The Old Norse word Ass meant both "Asian" and "deity," 
possibly indicating that the divine ass originated in Asia. 2 The pre- 
Vedic sacred king Ravana sported ten crowned human heads 
surmounted by one ass head, symbolizing the spirit of the ass god 
incarnate in ten kings. 3 The long ears of the ass seem to have had the 
same significance of virility in ancient India as the horns of the sacred 
bull or stag. 4 

Tacitus said the Jews worshipped the ass because wild asses were 
responsible for their survival in the desert. 5 According to Genesis 36:24, 

Cornelius Tacitus 

Roman historian 
and rhetorician, ca. 
56-120 a.d. 



Pyramid Texts Col- 
lections of prayers, 
hymns, and magic 
spells inscribed on the 
inner walls of the 
pyramids at Saqqarah 
(Sakkara), dating 
from the 5 th through 
7th dynasties. 

it was the tribal matriarch Anah, or Hannah, who first found asses in the 
wilderness. Balaam's oracular she-ass may have been a manifestation of 
the spirit of Anah, as Balaam himself was another name for Baal. 
Samson slew the Philistines with an ass's jawbone, the same bone still 
regarded as a seat of the soul by some African tribes. 6 Jesus entered 
Jerusalem on an ass's colt, symbol of the New Year. The lilim or 
Children of Lilith were ass-haunched, for they were spirits left over 
from the real source of the Jewish ass-cult: Egypt, home of the ass- 
headed god Set, or Seth. 

Set once ruled the dynastic gods, and in token of his sovereignty 
displayed a pair of ass's ears at the tip of a reed scepter. The Hyksos 
kings of Egypt revived Set's cult in the 2nd millenium B.C., perhaps 
because their own ass-eared Midas was a similar god-king. The annual 
alternation of Set and his brother Osiris (or Horus), who murdered each 
other in perpetual rivalry for the favors of Isis, reflected constant 
replacement of sacred kings in pre-dynastic times. 7 

Ass-eared king Midas, a son of Cybele, died of drinking bull's 
blood. In other words, he was connected with the Taurobolium or bull- 
sacrifice made in honor of both Cybele and Isis. Midas has been 
identified with Mita ("Seed"), a king of the Moschians or "calf-men," 
who invaded the country of the Hittites from Thrace during the second 
millenium B.C. Midas's Golden Touch and ass's ears link him with the 
cult of Set and the Golden Calf (Horus), whose image was worshipped 
by the Israelites (Exodus 32:2-4). 

Under Egypt's Hyksos kings, Set was a god of the hot desert wind, 
known as the Breath of the Ass. He was "Lord of the Chambers of the 
South," whence storm winds came. 8 His wind from the desert was 
supposed to bring pestilence, i.e., typhus, derived from Set's Greek 
name, Typhon. This name was interlingual and world-wide. It meant 
both the ass god and the wind called tufan in Arabic and Hindustani; t'ai 
fung in Chinese; and tuffbon or Typhoon in the South Pacific. 9 

Ass-headed Set was a sacrificial deity in the cult of Horus and 
Osiris. He was crucified on a furka and wounded in the side. 10 He and 
Horus were represented as alternating year-gods who fought and 
castrated one another, each being baptized in the blood of the other's 
"phallic eye," as the Pyramid Text said: "Horus is purified with the 
Eye of his brother Set; Set is purified with the Eye of his brother 
Horus." n The Eye or phallus passed from one to the other. A statue 
of Horus at Coptos carried Set's severed phallus in his hand. 12 After 
castrating Set, Horus spread his blood on the fields to render them 
fertile the usual fructification-by-male-blood found in the oldest sacri- 
ficial Mysteries. 13 

Thus, Set and Horus were remnants of a primitive sacred-king 
cult, which the Jews adopted. The story of the rival gods appeared in 
the Bible as Seth's supplanting of the sacrificed shepherd Abel, evidently 


the same "Good Shepherd" as Osiris-Horus (Genesis 4:25). Their 
rivalry was resolved in Egypt by having the pharaoh unite both gods in 
himself. Tomb paintings of Rameses IV showed him as both Set and 
Horus, two heads set upon one neck. 14 

Similarly, the Jewish God uniting both Father and Son was 
sometimes an ass-headed man crucified on a tree. This was one of the 
earliest representations of the Messiah's crucifixion. Some said Christ 
was the same as the Jewish ass-god Iao, identified with Set. 15 Jews in 
Rome were said to worship an ass's head as their deity. 16 

The Roman cult of the ass apparently originated in Libya, home of 
the bisexual Pales, whose temple stood on the Palatine Hill and gave 
rise to the word "palace." 17 Servius said Pales was a Goddess, the Diva 
Palatua, a disguise of Vesta. Others said Pales was either a female 
protectress of herd animals, or Vesta's male consort. In the first two 
centuries a.d., Pales was worshipped as a priapic god at the festival of 
the Palilia, traditional date of the founding of Rome, when the Palladi- 
um was brought to Vesta's temple. 18 Priests of Pales wore ass-head 
masks as they danced in honor of the long-eared deity. The Palilia was 
taken into the Christian calendar as the Feast of St. George. One of 
its old customs may have given rise to the Halloween game of "Pin the 
Tail on the Donkey," which recalls Rome's sacrifices of equine tails 
triumphantly carried to the temple of Vesta. 19 

I. Lumusse, 209. 2. Turville-Petre, 23. 3. Norman, 123. 4. Rawson, E.A., 25. 
5. Tacitus, 658. 6. Book of the Dead, 270-71. 7. Graves, G.M. 1, 283-84. 

8. Graves, W.G., 301. 9. Encyc. Brit, "Typhoon." 10. Campbell, M.I., 29. 

II. Norman, 42. 12. Knight, S.L., 124. 13. Budge, G.E. 2, 59. 

14. Norman, 38, 48. 15. M. Smith, 62. 16.Guignebert, 53. 17. Briffault 3, 18. 
1 8. Lumusse, 209. 1 9. Dume/il, 221. 



European mispronunciation of the Saracenic brotherhood of hash i- 
shim, "hashish-takers," who fought Christian crusaders in the 
Holy Land. See Aladdin. 


Lady of Byblos, one of the oldest forms of the Great Goddess in the 
Middle East, identified with Egypt's Hathor, Mycenae's Demeter, 
Cyprus's Aphrodite. 

Her shrine at Byblos dated back to the Neolithic and flourished 
throughout the Bronze Age. 1 She was the same creating-preserving- 
and-destroying Goddess worshipped by all Indo-European cultures, and 
still typified by Kali as the symbol of Nature. Astarte was the "true 
sovereign of the world," tirelessly creating and destroying, eliminating 

The Bible calls her 
Asherah or Ashtoreth, 
the Goddess wor- 
shipped by Solomon 
(1 Kings 11:5). 



To the Arabs the 
Goddess was Athtar, 
"Venus in the 
Morning." In Aramaic 
she was Attar-Sa- 
mayin, "Morning Star 
of Heaven," uniting 
two sexes in herself, like 
Lucifer the Morning 
Star and Diana Luci- 
fera. Her Hurrian 
name was Attart, or 
sometimes Ishara, 
another form of Ishtar, 
"the Star." 4 To Ca- 
naanites, she was 
Celestial Ruler, Mis- 
tress of Kingship, 
mother of all baaJim 
(gods). 5 

the old and generating the new. 2 Sidonian kings could not rule 
without her permission. Each king styled himself first and foremost 
"Priest of Astarte." 

Sumerian cylinder seals from Lagash, ca. 2300 B.C., showed the 
Goddess in a pose identical with Kali's love-and-death sacramental 
posture, squatting on top of her consort's body. 5 

Astarte ruled all the spirits of the dead who lived in heaven wearing 
bodies of light, visible from earth as stars. Hence, she was known as 
Astroarche, "Queen of the Stars." 6 She was the mother of all souls in 
heaven, the Moon surrounded by her star-children, to whom she 
gave their "astral" (starry) bodies. Occultists still speak of the astral body 
as an invisible double, having forgotten the word's original connota- 
tion of starlight. 7 

Astarte-Ashtoreth was transformed into a devil by Christian writ- 
ers, who automatically assumed that any deity mentioned in the Bible 
other than Yahweh was one of the denizens of hell. She was also 
masculinized. One finds in books of the 1 5th and 16th centuries a 
demon Ashtoreth or Astaroth, a "duke" or "prince" of hell. 8 Milton 
knew better; he spoke of "Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent 
horns." 9 

Scholars who really understood the mystery of Astarte recognized 
in her one of the ancient prototypes of the virgin Mary. In Syria and 
Egypt her sacred dramas celebrated the rebirth of the solar god from the 
celestial Virgin each 25th of December. A newborn child was 
exhibited, while the cry went up that the Virgin had brought forth. 
Frazer says, "No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a 
son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess 
whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly 
Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte." 10 

1. Encyc. Brit, "Byblos." 2. Massa, 101. 3. Campbell, Or. M., 42. 

4. Albright, 196, 228. 5. Stone, 164. 6. Lindsay, O.A., 327. 7. Cavendish, P.E., 44. 

8.deGivry, 132. 9. Cavendish, RE., 237. 10. Frazer, G.B., 416. 


"Star," Plato's name for Lucifer, the biblical god of the Morning 
Star. 1 He was perceived as a cyclic deity, attending the sun into the 
underworld at sunset, and also announcing "He is risen" in the 

1. Lindsay, O.A., 94. 


"Starry One," a Roman title of the Libyan Goddess of holy law, 
Libra or Libera, symbolized by the Scales of Judgment now enshrined 


in the zodiac as Libra. Like Minerva, Athene, Maat, and other 
manifestations of the same Goddess, she was characterized as a celestial 
Virgin dispensing the fates of men. See Virgo. 



Study of the stars has been called "the basis of all intellectual 
culture." ' It was highly refined by the Chaldeans, who were simulta- 
neously astronomers and astrologers. Unlike modern "Chaldeans," 
they were moon worshippers, basing their system almost entirely on the 
movements of the Moon-goddess. Their zodiac was known as 
Houses of the Moon. 2 

Apparently a majority of moon-watchers were women, the pries- 
tesses charged with determining correct seasons for planting and 
harvest, drawing up calendars, etc. Pliny said the study of the heavens, 
to foretell events such as eclipses, was traditionally the business of 
women. He suspected the priestesses' magic didn't cause eclipses, but 
rather foresaw them by scientific measurements; yet "the most part 
of the common people have been and are of this opinion . . . that all the 
same is done by enchantments, and that by the means of some 
sorceries and herbs together, both sun and moon may be charmed, and 
enforced both to loose and recover their light: to do which feat, 
women are thought to be more skilful and meet than men." He credited 
the Goddesses Medea and Circe with special powers over the lights 
of heaven. 3 

Divination by the lights of heaven was another particular province 
of the Moon-goddess and her sybils, the word cognate with the 
Goddess Cybele and possibly derived from Chaldean subultu, the 
Celestial Virgin (the constellation of Virgo). 4 An archaic term for 
astrological divination was mathesis, "the Learning," literally Mother- 
wisdom. Chaldean astrologers were Mathematici, "learned 
mothers." 5 

As a result of its ancient feminine associations, astrology was 
viewed as a devilish art by many fathers of the Christian church. 
Some thought it indistinguishable from witchcraft. Others respected it. 
Origen said the stars are intelligent spirits, able to foresee the future 
and communicate their knowledge by their observed motions. St. 
Thomas Aquinas agreed with this. He said man's fate is the power 
exerted by the stars in their movements. 6 

Savonarola thought it a disgrace, however, that in his day the 
church was "wholly governed by astrology," as he said. Every 
important prelate had his "Chaldean" at his side, determining every 
move by the stars. 7 St. Jerome said astrology was idolatry. Sts. Gregory, 
Ambrose, Chrysostom, Eusebius, and Lactantius all condemned it. 

Origen (Origenes 
Adamantius) Christian 
father, ca. 185-254 
a.d., an Egyptian who 
wrote in Greek, ex- 
erting a powerful 
influence on the early 
Greek church. At 
first he was accounted a 
saint, but three cen- 
turies after his death he 
was declared a here- 
tic because of Gnostic 
elements found in 
his writings. 



Council of Toledo 

The greatest theological 
significance was at- 
tributed to the church 
council held in Tole- 
do in 675 a.d., though 
there were seventeen 
other church councils in 
the same city be- 
tween the 5 th and 8th 

Zodiacus Christianas 
A curious astrological 
work claiming Jesuit 
origin. Full title: 
Zodiacus Christianus 
locupletatus seu 
Signa XII Divinae 
Totidem Symbolis ex- 
plicata ab Hierem 
Drexilio e Societatis 

Peter of Abano 

(1250-1318) Renais- 
sance scholar, 
physician, geomancer, 
astrologer, and here- 
tic; an acquaintance of 
Marco Polo. 

St. Augustine said astrology must be expelled from all Christian nations. 
It was prohibited by the Council of Toledo. 8 

Despite all this, the church took astrology to its bosom in the 12th 
and 1 3th centuries. Pope Julius II settled the date of his coronation on 
the advice of astrologers. Pope Paul III planned the consistory by 
horoscopes. Pope Leo X founded a chair of astrology in a major 
university. 9 Signs of the zodiac were associated with the apostles. 
Cathedrals were decorated with astrological symbols. The Zodiacus 
Christianus compared the zodiac to the stages of Christian life and the 
twelve virtues. 10 

Peter of Abano was one of the few unbelievers. He openly scoffed 
at God, and managed to avoid the Inquisition only by dying at an 
opportune moment. Toward the end, he remarked that he had devoted 
his life to three noble arts: philosophy, which made him subtle; 
medicine, which made him rich; and astrology, which made him a liar. 11 

Protestants were not as enthusiastic about astrology as Catholics. 
Queen Elizabeth I of England disapproved of the Chaldean art, fearing 
implications of treason against the royal person in prognosticating the 
length of her life. Toward the latter part of her reign, she imposed 
severe legal penalties for casting royal horoscopes. 12 Protestant leaflets 
listed among the "sins of the papists" such as "Observation and choice 
of days, of planetary hours, of motions and courses of stars 
. . . horoscoping, or marking the hours of nativities, witchcrafts, en- 
chantments, and all such superstitious trumpery." 13 

Yet the common people retained many superstitious beliefs based 
on astrology. The idea that the stars are souls in heaven never really 
died out. English peasants were sure that a falling star denoted either a 
conception or a birth some said one, some said the other, for none 
were clear about which moment the soul descended from heaven to 
occupy its new body. 14 Because it represented an essence of new life, 
the falling star was and still is "wished on," like any spirit thought to be 
passing from one world to another. 

1. Campbell, Mi, 149. 2. Briffault 2, 600. 3. Hawkins, 138-39. 
4. Briffault 2, 600. 5. Rose, 262. 6.Castiglioni,259,261. 7. Lea unabridged, 772. 
8. Hazlirt, 22. 9. Seznec, 57. 10. Budge, AT., 414. 1 1 . Lea unabridged, 774. 
12. Robbins, 161. 13. Hazlitt, 376. 14. Elworthy, 424. 

Calydon Ancient 
town of Aetolia, site of 
the temple of Arte- 
mis Laphria (Artemis 
the Forager). 


Amazonian huntress, the best athlete in Calydon. As an infant, 
Atalanta was suckled by Artemis herself, in totemic form as a She-Bear. 
When she grew up, she took part in the famous hunt of the Caly- 
donian Boar and drew first blood, pausing only to kill two centaurs who 
tried to rape her on the hunting field. 

She was a faster runner than any man. Her suitors had to beat her 


in a footrace, or suffer death. Many were killed before one managed 
to trick her into losing the race by dropping golden apples to divert her 
attention. Some said she and her bridegroom were turned into lions 
and yoked to the chariot of the Great Mother of the Gods. 1 Phrygian 
Cybele always rode in a chariot drawn by two lions, male and female. 

1. Graves, CM. 1,264-67. 



Philistine Fish-goddess, called Tirgata in Syria, identified with Aph- 
rodite. At the temple of Der, in Babylon, she was Derceto, "Whale of 
Der." Her daughter, Queen Semiramis, founded the city of Babylon. 1 
She gave rebirth to Jonah in his earlier Babylonian form as the fish-god 
Oannes. Philistines called him Dagon, Atargatis's mate. At Harran, 
the Goddess's sacred fish were credited with oracular powers. In Boeotia 
she was identified with Artemis who wore a fish amulet over her 
genitals. 2 See Fish. 

1. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 497. 2. Neumann, CM., pi. 134. 


Greek a-theos, one who denies the existence of any god. Christian 
theologians tended to regard atheism as devilish, though atheism im- 
plied disbelief in devils as well as all other supernatural entities. 

Oriental thinkers were less simplistic about atheism. The more 
advanced sages taught that non-belief can be more "religious" than 
belief indeed, atheism may make better human beings than faith can 
make. In the east "it is not thought impossible that atheism may be as 
profoundly religious as theism, nor is atheism regarded by religious men 
as in itself unspiritual. This is extremely hard for a westerner to 
understand he does not see that the essence of religion lies in the 
religious experience, and not in any belief at all, and that all so-called 
religious beliefs or doctrines are merely theories about the religious 
experience." ' 

Evans- Wentz called attention to the same Oriental thought: 
" The Fatherhood of God' as a personal and anthropomorphic deity is 
the cornerstone of Christian theology, but in Buddhism although 
the Buddha neither denied nor affirmed the existence of a Supreme 
Deity it has no place, because, as the Buddha maintained, neither 
believing nor not believing in a Supreme God, but self-exertion in right- 
doing, is essential to comprehending the true nature of life." 2 

By these standards, no criminal could be considered religious, no 
matter how much faith he professed. Conversely, no person who 

W. Y. Evans- Wentz 

British student of 
Tibetan Buddhism, 
translator of the 
Tibetan Book of the 
Dead, 1927. 


Athene treated his fellow-creatures well could be considered irreligious, no 

Atlas matter how many gods he denied. Oriental sages viewed theological 

mmmm ^ m j, mam ^^ reasoning with a certain contempt, as irrelevant to the behavior that 
constitutes true religion: "Mere talk about religion is only an intellec- 
tual exercise. . . . Of what use are grand phrases about Atma 
(the soul) on the lips of those who hate and injure one another? 
. . . Religion is kindness." 3 

1. Vetter, 320-21. 2. Bardo Thodol, 236. 3. Avalon, 175. 


Mother-goddess of Athens, worshipped as Holy Virgin, Athene 
Parthenia, in the Parthenon, her "Virgin-temple." Though classic 
writers insisted on her chastity, older traditions gave her several 
consorts, such as Hephaestus and Pan. 1 She was united with the phallic 
Pallas, whose "Palladium" was a lingam, later Rome's greatest fetish. 2 

Athene came from North Africa. She was the Libyan Triple 
Goddess Neith, Metis, Medusa, Anath, or Ath-enna. An inscription 
at Larnax-Lapithou named her Athene in Greek, Anat in Phoenician. 3 
Pre-Hellenic myths said she came from the uterus of Lake Tritonis 
(Three Queens) in Libya. 4 Egyptians sometimes called Isis Athene, 
which meant "I have come from myself." 5 

Greeks claimed Athene was born from Zeus's head, after he 
Sign of Athene swallowed her mother Metis i.e., Medusa, "Female Wisdom," 

formerly symbolized by the Gorgoneum, Athene's snake-haired mask, 
invested with power to turn men to stone. 6 Gorgo, or Gorgon, was 
Athene's Destroyer aspect. 7 Funerary statues or phallic pillars were her 
"men turned to stone," perhaps even identified with the pillars of the 
Parthenon which was seized by Christians at an unknown date in 
the 5th or 6th century a.d. and rededicated as a temple of the virgin 
Mary. 8 

1. Graves, CM. 1, 149. 2. Dumezil, 323. 3.Massa, 104. 4. Graves, G.M. 1,44. 
5. Budge, G.E. 1,459. 6. Larousse, 107. 7. Knight, S.L., 130. 8. Hyde, 61. 


Pre-Hellenic Titan or earth-god, brother of Prometheus, con- 
demned to carry the world on his back because he took part in the 
Giants' Revolt against the Olympian gods. This was a re-interpreta- 
tion of his primary earth-supporting function. As Prometheus was 
associated with the Caucasus and Heracles with the "Pillars of 
Heracles" in the west, so Atlas was associated with the Atlas Mountains 
of Africa indicating that the Titans were originally divine pillars of 
the heavens, upholding the world. Atlas might be compared to the 


Vedic god Vishnu who took the form of a tortoise (Greek Tartarus) Atonement 

and supported the world on his back. 


In ancient Mesopotamia the Day of Atonement corresponded to the 
beginning of the New Year, when all sins were collectively purged for a 
new time-cycle. The Jews' Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, was 
based on the Sumero-Babylonian kupparu, an atonement ceremony in 
which a sheep was ceremonially loaded with all the community's sins, 
and killed. The sheep was an animal substitute for the man who in 
earlier times died as Sin Bearer, Savior, or Good Shepherd that is, 
Dumuzi or Tammuz. 

A ram played the part of Sin Bearer at atonement festivals of 
Egypt, which is why Aries the Ram is still the zodiacal sign of the 
New Year that began in March, by ancient reckoning. Egyptians called 
him Amon the ram god; the Jews assimilated him to the paschal lamb 
and sacrificed him at Passover. 

All over the world, the sheep stood for the shepherd as an 
atonement-victim. In China the name Ch'iang, "Shepherd," was 
given to war prisoners who provided sacrificial victims. The pictograph 
for "shepherd" was a man with a knife severing his neck. 1 The dead 
shepherd was also called the Son of God. In Samarkand during the 2nd 
century B.C., "the Son of God died with the seventh moon ... all the 
inhabitants, without distinction, appear dressed in robes of black wool. 
They go barefooted, striking their breasts, uttering loud wails and 
weeping copious tears. Three hundred persons, both men and women, 
go about the fields scattering grass, and looking for the remains of the 
Son of God." 2 Such was a Chinese traveler's impression of the rite 
known in Greece as the anagnorisis, search and discovery (see 

Israel's law called for a goat to bear away the sins of the community 
to the god Azazel, whom the Syrians called Aziz, "the Lord's 
Messenger." 3 Having selected the scape-goat, the priest would "confess 
over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their 
transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat" 
(Leviticus 16:21). A first goat was driven away, a second one was 
killed, for no god would absolve sins without an offering of blood: 
"Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without 
shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). 

As development of the wool industry made it more profitable 
to keep sheep alive for their fleeces than to kill them for their meat, the 
goat became a more popular sacrificial victim. The animals were 
sometimes skinned to produce copious shedding of blood for remission 


Atonement of sins. An incantation from the Shurpu series gives a magic rationale 

for flaying a scape-goat: 

^^^^^^^^^^^^ m As this goat skin is pulled off and thrown into the fire, and the burning 

Flame consumes it, and it does not return to its goat, and it is no longer 
dyed (with blood), so the oath, the ban, the pain, the misery, the disease, 
the sickness, the trespass, the misdeed, the crime, the sin, the disease 
which dwells in my body, my flesh, and my joints, may they be pulled off 
like this goat skin, and may the ban depart and may I see the light. 4 

Early Greek myths evoke primitive totemism with goat gods 
flayed in atonement for the sins of others. Athene flayed the goat god 
Pallas, or Pan, and made her aegis from his skin. 5 Phrygians called 
the same god the satyr Marsyas, nailed to a pine tree and flayed in 
atonement for a crime against Apollo. In Rome, goats were flayed at 
the purification festival of the Lupercalia, where the dying satyr-god 
Faunus was offered to the Sabine mother-goddess Ops. 6 

The old Roman New Year was celebrated at the Ides of March 
and called the Mamuralia, carrying another trace of scapegoat- 
sacrifice. A man dressed in goatskins was led through the city in 
procession, beaten with rods, and driven away into exile with the 
formula, "Out with hunger, in with health and wealth." 7 Ovid said the 
March scapegoat was a legendary smith named Mamurius, who 
forged coins representing each month of the year zodiacal sun- 

Such practices make it clear that scapegoat-sacrifices were formerly 
human, and the animals replaced human victims. Liturgical formulae 
nearly always sent human sins into oblivion along with the sacrificed 
animal. Egyptians, killing the bull that represented Osiris, said the 
whole nation's sins were placed on his head. 8 Animal sacrifice took a 
more humane form in Tibet: at the New Year ceremony, three 
horses and three dogs were smeared with red paint instead of flayed, 
then dedicated to the temple. 9 

Christian symbolism made Jesus the sacrificial Lamb of God slain 

to atone for sin like the paschal lamb. Some early Christian writers 

insisted that animal sacrifice came first, and human sacrifice was a later, 

"higher" development: "God is a man-eater. For this reason men are 

sacrificed to him." 10 Among medieval theologians there was a general 

opinion that Jesus's sacrifice was not really effective; only "a few" 

were saved by the Savior's death. St. Thomas Aquinas and others 

claimed the vast majority of people were still doomed to eternal 

suffering in hell. 11 Thus the theory of atonement for all time or for all 

humanity was actually denied by the same church that propounded 

it as a basis for worldly power. 

1. Hays, 188. 2. Briffault 3, 100. 3. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 113. 4. Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 394. 
5. Graves, CM. 1, 81. 6. Lamusse, 208. 7. j.E. Harrison, 196-97; Frazer, G.B., 670. 
8. Budge, GE. 2, 349. 9. Waddell, 529, 531. 10. Robinson, 138. ll.Coulton, 19. 



"Cutter," the third of the Greek trinity of Fates (Moerae). She was 
the Destroyer whose function was to cut the thread of life that the first 
sister spun, and the second one wove. She was usually depicted as an 
old woman carrying a pair of shears. Like Kali the Destroyer, she was 
also worshipped as a Goddess in her own right. In Parthia, the 
"Virgin-Land," she had her own holy city, Atropatene. Its modern 
name is Azerbaijan. 1 





The cult of Attis strongly influenced early Christianity. 

Attis accompanied Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods, 
brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C. They were established in a 
temple on the Vatican hill, where they remained for six centuries. 1 At 
first Attis was separated from, and subordinated to, the Goddess, 
whom the emperor Augustus regarded as the Supreme Mother of 
Rome. "The Romans tolerated Attis because, maintaining the tradi- 
tion of earlier days, they continued to regard Cybele as a national 
Goddess." 2 

Attis was a son of the Goddess's earthly incarnation, the virgin 
Nana, who miraculously conceived him by eating an almond or a 
pomegranate, yonic symbols both. Thus he was a typical "god without a 
father," the Virgin's son. He grew up to become a sacrificial victim 
and Savior, slain to bring salvation to mankind. His body was eaten by 
his worshippers in the form of bread. 3 He was resurrected as "The 
Most High God, who holds the universe together." 4 His epiphany was 
announced with the words, "Hail, Bridegroom, Hail, new Light." 5 
Like his priests he was castrated, then crucified on a pine tree, whence 
his holy blood poured down to redeem the earth. 

Attis's passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine 
months before the solstitial festival of his birth, the 25th of Decem- 
ber. The time of his death was also the time of his conception, or 
re-conception. To mark the event when Attis entered his mother to 
beget his reincarnation, his tree-phallus was carried into her sacred 
cavern. Thus the virgin mother Nana was actually the Goddess 
herself: she who was called Inanna by the Sumerians, Mari-Anna by the 
Canaanites, Anna Perenna by the Sabines, and Nanna, mother of the 
dying god Balder, in northern Europe. 6 

Christians claimed the same dates for the conception and birth of 
their savior. The usual quarrels ensued. The Christians resorted to 
their favorite argument, that the devil had established pagan Mysteries 
in imitation of Christianity before there was a Christianity. Tertullian 

Tertullian (Quintus 
Septimius Florens Ter- 
tullianus) Influential 
early Christian writer 
and father of the 
church, ca. 155-220 
a.d., born in Car- 
thage of pagan parents. 


Attis said, "The devil by the mysteries of his idols, imitates even the main 

parts of the divine mysteries." 7 
^^^^^^^^^^^ Followers of Attis eventually lost their sacrificial day to the Chris- 

tians. Justinian ruled that March 25 would be known as the day of 
the Annunciation, or Lady Day. Naturally, the day of the Annunciation 
was the day of Jesus's conception, so that he, like Attis, could be born 
nine months later at the winter solstice, as were all gods assimilated 
to the sun and called Light of the World. 8 

March 25 was also the day when Blessed Virgin Juno miraculous- 
ly conceived her savior-son Mars by eating her own magic lily, which 
is why March was named after this god and why medieval France called 
Lady Day Notre Dame de Mars. The date was officially Christian- 
ized by the tenth Council of Toledo in 656 a.d. as the Festival of the 
Mother of God. But its symbol remained a pagan sign of the yoni. 9 
Mars had a Phrygian counterpart, the satyr Marsyas, likewise hung on a 
tree, and likewise a son of Cybele. It was said that he and Attis were 
the same god. 10 

The day of Attis's death was Black Friday, or the Day of Blood. 
His image was carried to the temple and bound to the tree, escorted 
by "reed-bearers" (cannophori) with the reed scepters representing re- 
generated phalli and new fertility. 11 During the ceremonies, initiates 
castrated themselves in imitation of the castrated god, and presented 
their severed genitals to the Goddess along with those of the gelded 
bull sacrificed at the Taurobolium. 12 All these male remnants were 
deposited in the sacred cave of the Great Mother. 15 

The god died and was buried. He descended into the underworld. 
On the third day he rose again from the dead. His worshippers were 
told: "The god is saved; and for you also will come salvation from your 
trials." 14 This day was the Carnival or Hilaria, also known as the Day 
of Joy. People danced in the streets and went about in disguise, 
indulging in horseplay and casual love affairs. 15 This was the Sun- 
day; the god arose in glory as the solar deity of a new season. Christians 
ever afterward kept Easter Sunday with carnival processions derived 
from the mysteries of Attis. Like Christ, Attis arose when "the sun 
makes the day for the first time longer than the night." 16 

Naassenes of the 3rd century a.d. worshipped Attis as a syncretic 
mixture of deities. One of their hymns said, "Of Attis I will sing, of 
Rhea's son, not sounding his praises with rolling drums, nor on the reed, 
nor with the roar of Ida's Curetes, but as the Muse of Phoebus on the 
lyre I will blend the strains. Euhoi, Euhan, he is Pan, he is Bacchus, he 
is the shepherd of the white constellations." 17 

Inscriptions of the 4th century gave Attis the title of Menotyrannus, 
from Greek tyrannos, "lord," plus Men or Mennu, Osiris as the 
resurrected, ithyphallic moon-bull, "the Lord Who Impregnates His 
Mother." 18 


Pagans sometimes celebrated the Hilaria at the end of their Holy 
Week, bringing it to April 1 and the carnival of the April Fool, or 
Carnival King, or Prince of Love, all originally synonymous with Attis. 
He was also identified with Green George of the old Roman Palilia, 
honored on Easter Monday with sacrificial hanging of the god's effigy 
on a sacred tree. People of the 18th century still said the 25th of 
March used to be New Year's Day, while April 1 stood at the "octaves" 
terminating the sacred week. 19 

Some Christians claimed Jesus's crucifixion took place on April 1, 
so the Fool of the April Fool's Day processions became Christ 
carrying his cross and enduring the mockery of the mob. But the spring 
Holy Week was not really Christian. Its origin was a universal Indo- 
European tradition of extreme antiquity, probably traceable to the Holi 
festivals of India which celebrated the rebirth of spring with joyous 
orgies. 20 

1. Clodd, 79. 2. Vermaseren, 177-78. 3. Guignebert, 73. 4. Graves, W.G., 367. 
5. Angus, 136. 6. Larousse, 268-69. 7. Robertson, 112. 8. Ashe, 82. 
9. Brewster, 144. 10. Graves, G.M. 1, 77. 11. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 56. 
12. Guignebert,71-72. 13. Vermaseren, 111. 14. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 59. 
15. Frazer.G.B., 405-7. 16. Vermaseren, 182. 17. Vermaseren, 182. 
18. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 61. 19. Hazlitt, 13, 548. 20. de Lys, 360. 


Green George Spirit of 
spring descended from 
the hero-sacrifice of 
the Roman Palilia. In 
Balkan countries 
during the Middle Ages 
and later, he was rep- 
resented by a youth 
dressed in green 
branches and symboli- 
cally "sacrificed." 


Roman month of the oracular Juno Augusta. Oracles were augustae 
in the semi-matriarchal "republican" period. The term was later applied 
to male priests, then to emperors. An "august" man was one filled 
with the spirit of the Goddess. 1 Augur, the old name for a seer, meant 
"increaser," once referring to the mother-priestess. 2 The first emper- 
or Augustus took his title from the Great Mother of the Gods, 
presumed incarnate in his wife Livia Augusta. Their house stood 
opposite the temple of the Great Mother, whom Augustus honored as 
the national Goddess. 3 

Among European pagans the month of August began with one of 
the Goddess's major festivals, Lammas Eve, from Hlaf-mass, "the 
Feast of Bread." The secret worship of Ops, Ceres, Demeter, or Juno 
Augusta continued throughout the Middle Ages in the rites ad- 
dressed to the Lammas corn-mother who ruled the harvest-month. 
"For a seventeenth-century Scot to say 'he (or she) was born in 
August', was to imply high praise and recognition of a well-skilled 
person'. August, the month of the Lammas towers, the month when 
the Irish dancers moved around the female effigy, was the right time for 
birth. Then the Lammas moon was at work, on behalf of new 
children, and the new harvest." 4 

Churchmen repeatedly tried to obliterate the Goddess's connec- 
tions with her harvest month. It was officially claimed that August 


Aurora had been named for St. Augustine "prophetically" of course, since 

Azazel the name had been given to the month centuries before Augustine 

^ ^___^ was born. 5 

1. J.H. Smith, C.G., 5. 2. Rose, 233. 3. Vermaseren, 83, 86, 126. 
4. Dames, 164-65. 5. Brewster, 349. 


"Dawn," a Roman name for Eos, or Mater Matuta, the morning- 
mother of the sun. In the classic pattern, her child was also her consort, 
a sacred king sometimes entitled Tithonius, "husband of the Queen 
of Day." She made him immortal but forgot to give him eternal youth; 
so he became gray and shrunken, finally becoming a cicada, the 
symbol of the sun's rebirth when cicadas hailed his growing warmth. 1 
1. Graves, G.M. 1,150;W.G., 117. 


"Apple-isle," the Celtic paradise across the western sea, where gods 
and heroes were fed on the apples of immortality. Cognate with 
Hindus' Jambu Island, Egyptians' Land of the Westerners, Norse- 
men's Faeroisland or Fairyland. See Paradise. 


Sanskrit word for the same soul reincarnated in a new body; the 
opposite of atavism, which meant harking back to an earlier, primitive 
state of being. 

Axis Mundi 

"Axle of the World." Ancient cosmologies pictured the earth as a 
globe spinning on a shaft with the ends fastened at the celestial poles. 
The axis mundi penetrated the earth at its center, hence it was 
usually associated with the cosmic lingam or male principle. Each 
nation placed this hub at the center of its own territory. See 


"God's Messenger," the deity who received sacrificial goats on the 
Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, New Year). Azazel was not 
originally Hebraic, but Syrian. 1 Some rabbinical writings called him Azel, 


a subversive angel who stole magic secrets from God and gave Azazel 

them to Eve, thus bringing about the enlightenment of humanity at the 

cost of God's wrath. Moslems sometimes gave Azazel's name to the mmm^^^hh^hm 

rebellious angel who opposed Allah, though this personage was often 

called Iblis, or Shaytan (Satan). 2 

During the Middle Ages, Azazel was adopted by Christian de- 
monologists and made one of the leaders in the pantheon of hell. His 
name was often cited by exorcists as that of an active, lively possessor, 
befitting his ancient function as a Hermetic-style "messenger." 

1. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 1 13. 2. Keightley, 25. 



i JJ ID 


baal, in characteristic 
dress and stance. 
Phoenician bronze, 15th 
to 14th century b.c. 

Ceremony of baptism in 
York, Pennsylvania, 
in 1799. Drawing by folk 
artist Lewis Miller 


One of the many 
versions of the 
buddha. Temple of 
Borubudur, Giava, 


The serpent god Le- 
viathan (or Levi), the 
elephant god Behe- 
moth, and the ass god 
Pales who gave his 
name to Palestine, all 
emanated from the 
Far East, as did Abra- 
ham or "Father 
Brahm," apparently 
based on Brahma. 
The Greeks' Adonis 
was the Semitic Ado- 
nai, "the Lord." 


"The Lord" among ancient Semites; consort of Mother Astarte, 
whose favors he shared with Yamm, the Lord of Death (from Hindu 
Yama). Every god was a Baal. The title was introduced into Ireland 
via Phoenician colonies in Spain, and became the Irish Bel or Bial, Lord 
ofBeltain. 1 

Old Testament Jews worshipped many baalim as past or present 
consorts of the Goddess Zion (Hosea 2:2-8). Yahweh shared these other 
gods' temples for a long time, until his priesthood managed to isolate his 
cult and suppress the others. 2 Some of the baalim revered in Israel 
were: Sin, the moon god of Sinai; Molech (Melek), the "king" and sun 
god of Tyre; Horus, the Egyptian Golden Calf whose image was 
made by Aaron; Baal-Peor, a phallic "Lord of the Cleft" (or yoni); 
Nehushtan, the "fiery flying serpent" of lightning, made by Moses (2 
Kings 18:4); Chemosh, the Babylonian sun god Shamash, incarnate in 
Samson (or Shams-on, the sun); Melchizedek, the god of Salem; 
Etana, or Ethan, the Canaanite Eytan who "went up to heaven"; Baal- 
Rimmon, the Lord of the Pomegranate impersonated by Solomon; 
Baal-Berith, the Canaanites' "God of the Covenant"; El, or Elias, the 
sun god Helios to whom Jesus called from the cross; Joseph, Jacob, 
and Israel, who were not men but tribal gods. 2 

Since nearly all gods were sacrificial victims in their earthly 
incarnations, Baal may have been derived from Sanskrit Bala or Bali, 
a sacrificial offering. 5 The Semitic melek, "king," came from Phoeni- 
cian molk, a votive offering, because early kings were not only gods 
but also victims. 4 (See Kingship.) 

Baal was often used as the title of a mortal king, especially one 
whose reign might be terminated by a ritual sacrifice. In the time of 
Esarhaddon of Assyria, the king of Tyre was named Baal, or "God." In 
the 10th century B.C., kings of Byblos bore names like Yehimilk 
(God-king), Abibaal (Father-god), and Baalshamen (Heavenly Father). 5 

Baal became a favorite Christian name for a devil, because biblical 
writers denounced all the baalim indiscriminately as devils (2 Chroni- 
cles 1 1:15; 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20). Still, the northern 
European cognate Bal, Bel, Bael, or Balder retained the affection of 
commoners. 6 Baal was still the patron of the Beltain feast in 18th- 
century Scotland. To make the crops thrive, Scandinavians burned 
his effigy at midsummer in "Balder's Balefires" throughout Denmark, 
Norway, and Sweden. 7 

1. Joyce, 279. 2. Reinach, 201; Frazer,G.B., 341. 3. O'Flaherty, 340. 

4. Gaster, 588. 5. Pritchard, 22-23. 6. Hallet, 336. 7. Frazer, G.B., 717, 769. 


"Lady," the feminine equivalent of Baal; common Middle-Eastern 
title of the Goddess. Also rendered Belit, Belit-ili, or Beltis. 



Baal-Berith Baal-Berith 

"God of the Covenant," Canaanite lawgiving deity represented by 

two stone tablets in the temple at Shechem, later taken over by Hebraic * 

invaders and transferred to the cult of Yahweh. Commandments on 

the tablets were based on the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, received 

by the Babylonian king from the god Shamash. 1 These, in turn, were 

based on the tablets of law given the first god by his Great Mother, 

Tiamat. 2 

Though both tablets and title were claimed by the Judeo-Christian 
God, the name of Baal-Berith was attached to a devil, often invoked 
by medieval authors on magic, who were apparently unaware that they 
called upon the God of the Covenant. Weyer placed Baal-Berith in a 
position suiting his ancient function, however. In the royal hierarchy of 
hell he was Minister of Treaties. 3 Though churchmen had small use 
for the heretic Weyer, yet they used this precedent to assign the de- 
monic pact to Baal-Berith. In 1335a witch named Catherine Delort 
was burned for signing a pact with "the demon Berit." 4 

1. Hooke, M.E.M* 142, 147. 2. Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 287. 
3. Waite, B.C.M., 186-87. 4. J.B. Russell, 184. 


Goat- Lord, a Semitic name of Pan, ancestor of the tribe of Gad; also 
identified with Azazel, who received annual scapegoat-sacrifices. He 
was worshipped in a cave at the source of the Jordan. It was said he was 
fathered by Hermes, and after death he ascended to heaven to become 
the constellation Capricorn, the Goat. 1 
1. Graves, W.G., 230, 391. 


Canaanite Lord of the Hunt, slain by priestesses of Asherah, who 
buried him in a bog (earth-womb) and resurrected him after seven years, 
the standard term of kingship in primitive Palestine. 1 He was mated to 
Asherah as Lady of the Pomegranate at Hadad-Rimmon, and his 
name was borne by two biblical kings, Ben-hadad and Hadad-ezer 
(Zechariah 12:11). 

1. Hooke, M.E.M., 87. 



"Lord of the Brazier," the Tyrian Heracles who died by fire. 
Egyptians called him Ammon. At his cult center in Carthage, "men 
who were gods of light" were said to have died in sacrificial fires as 




late as 200 a.d. 1 In Elam, the god was Haman, slain as a surrogate for 
Marduk (Jewish Mordecai). One version of his sacrificial dramas 
appears in the Book of Esther, and eucharistic eating of his body is still 
performed through the Purim cakes called hamantaschen. 
1. H.Smith, 136. 


"Lord of the Cleft," Phoenician phallic god coupled with Asherah's 
yonic "cleft." Israelites adopted his cult and celebrated sexual rites in his 
honor in the tabernacle, until Yahweh's reformers killed the cele- 
brants (Numbers 25). Baal-Peor's symbol was a palm tree between two 
stones, a male-genital symbol recalling the phallic god of Egypt, Osiris- 
Min, whose worshippers prayed to achieve erections "like a palm 
tree." ' 


var. Beelzebub 


"Lord of Flies," a god of Ekron in Philistia, to whose oracle King 
Ahaziah of Israel sent messengers in quest of healing magic (2 Kings 
1:2). Like Hermes Psychopomp, his title meant the same as Lord of 
Death or Conductor of Souls, because flies were common forms taken 
by souls in search of rebirth. Mothers of many mythic heroes 
miraculously conceived them by swallowing their souls in fly shape. 1 
Etain, legendary Irish queen married to Ochy Airem, and Cu 
Chulainn are examples from popular Celtic myth. 

The Pharisees called Baal-Zebub a "prince of devils," apparently 
because it was thought he could cure people possessed by lesser devils 
(Matthew 12:24). One or two passing references to this "prince of 
devils" in the New Testament sufficed to establish Beelzebub as an 
alternative name for Satan, and flies as diabolic manifestations in 
medieval Christendom. 

St. Bernard once exorcised a cloud of flies, which instantly 
dropped dead at the sound of his holy words and had to be shoveled 
out of his church in heaps. 2 

Fly-devils were still firmly believed in during the late 16th century. 
When a young Viennese girl suffered from cramps in 1 583, Jesuit 
priests diagnosed her case as demonic possession. After eight weeks of 
exorcisms, they claimed to have expelled 12,652 demons from the girl. 
Her 70-year-old grandmother was accused of harboring these demons 
as flies in glass jars. The old lady was dragged at a horse's tail to the 
stake and burned alive. 3 

1. Spence, 95-96. 2. White 2, 109, 113. 3. Robbins, 395; Cavendish, P.E., 234. 


Babel, Tower of 

Ba-Bel, "God's Gate," was the Babylonian heaven-mountain or 
ziggurat where the god descended from the sky to the Holy of Holies, 
the genital locus of his mating with Mother Earth. 1 

The biblical story of the Tower of Babel "reflects the attitude of 
nomads entering the fertile plains of the Delta, beholding with 
wonder and dread the soaring towers of Babylonian cities, and despising 
the multitudes speaking all the various tongues of the ancient Near 
East." 2 To the ears of the strangers, diversity of languages was "bab- 
ble," a word derived from Ba-Bel or its city of Bab-ilani, named after 
its own man-made Holy Mountain. 5 

Babylon's famous Hanging Gardens occupied the seven stages of 
the ziggurat, to create a Paradise like that of Hindu gods: "Seven 
divisions of the world ... on which the seven separate cities and palaces 
of the gods are built, amid green woods and murmuring streams, in 
seven circles placed one above another." The ziggurat restored by 
Nebuchadnezzar was a "temple of the seven spheres of the world." It 
helped established universal belief in the seven heavens, corresponding 
to the seven planetary spheres. Christians and Moslems also adopted 
this view of the cosmos. The Koran says Allah made seven heavens and 
seven underground spheres, the seven hells. 4 

When ziggurats were abandoned and became ruinous, their mud- 
brick construction crumbling, later nomadic peoples assumed the 
gods were angered by the pride of the elder races and broke down their 
heaven-aspiring constructions. The Babel myth is found all over the 
world, including India and Mexico. It was familiar in the Greek story of 
the giants who piled up mountains to reach heaven. Hindus said it 
was not a tower but a great tree that grew up to heaven, angering 
Brahma, who cut off its branches and threw them down. From each 
branch grew a separate wata tree that gave humanity another separate 
language. 5 

Berossus said the Babylonian heaven-mountain was destroyed by 
winds, which blew a diversity of tongues among men. The first part 
of this premise was certainly not irrational, since drying and wind- 
erosion were major causes of the destruction of mud-brick structures. 
Berossus's story surfaced many centuries later in the Armenian myth of 
the holy mountain built by giants. It was blown down by winds, while 
"unknown words were at the same time blown about among men." 6 

The same story was told in the western hemisphere. Choctaw 
Indians said their own ancestors piled up stones to build a mountain 
that would reach heaven, but it was blown down by winds, whereupon 
people found themselves speaking different languages. 7 In Central 
America the heaven-reaching pyramid of Cholula was built by giants un- 
der the leadership of Xelhua. The angry gods broke it down with light- 
ning and sent different, mutually incomprehensible languages to earth. 8 

1. White 2, 170. 2.Hcx)ke,M.E.M., 138. 3. Eliade, M.E.R., 14. 
4. Lethaby, 24, 124-25, 129. 5. White 2, 173. 6. Doane, 35. 
7. Farb, W.P., 309. 8. White 2, 173. 

Babel, Tower of 

Berossus Chaldean 
priest of Bel-Marduk, 
3rd century B.C.; au- 
thor of a history of 
Babylonia and Assyr- 
ia, written in Greek. 




Roman name for the sacrificial god Dionysus; also known as Bac- 
chus Liber, or Father Liber, consort of the Goddess Libera. He was 
worshipped as the orgiastic deity of wine and vintage-festivals wherev- 
er wine grapes were grown throughout the Roman empire. The town of 
Bacharach in the Rhineland was named for him. Even in the 20th 
century, his influence was still supposed to ripen the grapes, and omens 
were taken for the vintage from his ancient stone altar on a river 
island. 1 



Sacred stone containing a deity, the Greek baitulos, Hebrew beth-el, 
"house of the holy one." Two Goddess-wives of Jehovah in the 5th 
century B.C. were called Ashima Baetyl and Anatha Baetyl. 1 The 
Bible speaks of Anatha's baetyl as Beth-Anath (Joshua 19:38). Medieval 
Cathari still held that God had two wives, named Collam and 
Colibam. 2 

1. Graves, W.G., 405. 2. J.B. Russell, 125. 

Dough victims The 

usual substitute, every- 
where in the world, 
for what used to be can- 
nibalistic offerings in 
primitive times. Some- 
times the offerings 
were man-shaped cakes, 
supposed to resemble 
a real man in the eyes of 
the deity. Sometimes 
they were ordinary 
cakes marked with a 
symbol of the sacrifice, 
like the Christian 
host (from Latin hostia, 


Norwegian name for the god Bel, or Baal, sacrificed as a son of 
Father Odin. He descended into the womb of Mother Hel, the 
Underworld. At doomsday, Ragnarok, he would return to earth in 
Second Coming. He would establish a new earth and a new heaven 
after the passing of the old destructive gods and their world. 

Balder's effigy is still burned at Beltain fires in Scotland and 
Ireland. Scandinavians knew them as Balder's Balefires. His was the 
spirit inhabiting the Beltain cake, an effigy of god-flesh like the Christian 
host, sometimes man-shaped like the symbolic dough "victims" of 
the Far East. 1 Such pagan hosts probably gave rise to the living 
Gingerbread Man of the fairy tale. 2 

Like Heracles, Siegfried, and other solar heros, Balder stood for 
the idea of regeneration through cremation. His funeral was the 
Viking's dissolution in both fire and water; he was sent to sea on a 
burning ship. This was arranged by a Goddess called Hyrrokkin, 
"Fire-shrunk," one of the Elder Deities. She was a former giantess who 
lost her stature by passing through a magic fire. 3 

1. Wadddl.531. 2.Frazer,G.B.,679,716. 3. Hollander, 51. 

Balkis Balkis 

The Queen of Sheba, according to the Koran. Solomon stole his Baphomet 

throne from Queen Balkis, the Moslems said. 1 Her name was also ihhh^h^h 

rendered Bilqis, or Balqama. The temple of the queens of Sheba at 

Marib was Mahram Bilqis: Balkis the Moon-Mother. Solomon was 

crowned by Bath-sheba, called his "mother" in the Bible; but her 

name means Daughter of Sheba, so it's possible that Solomon did 

receive his throne from a Sheban queen. See Solomon and Sheba. 



From Gaelic bean-sidhe, "woman of the fairy-mounds." The Irish ban- 
shee was a ghostly White Lady whose cry brought death to her 
hearers. 1 In Brittany she was the Bandrhude, or bane-druid, or dryad of 
death. 2 She was identified with Macha, Queen of Phantoms, third 
person of the Morrigan's trinity. That is, she was the Crone form of the 
Goddess, who summoned her children to death. 3 

Some said the shriek of the banshee was really the nocturnal call of 
the loon, a bird sacred to the Moon-goddess Luna, as its name 

Like the Vila or death-priestess of central Europe, and the Dakini 
of the Far East, the banshee could be as benevolent as the sacred 
women who used to sing the dying gently to sleep. "When the banshee 
loves those she calls, the song is a low, soft chant giving notice, 
indeed, of the proximity of death but with a tenderness of tone that 
reassures the one destined to die and comforts the survivors; rather a 
welcome than a warning." 4 To others, she came like a bad death, full of 

1. Goodrich, 177. 2. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 493. 3. Rees, 36. 
4. Pepper & Wilcock, 275. 


Bisexual idol or talking head allegedly worshipped by the Knights 
Templar when they were accused of heresy in the 14th century. 
Several derivations of the name Baphomet have been suggested. 
Some said it was Arabic abu-fihamat, "Father of Wisdom," the old title 
of an oracular head. 1 Some said it was a corruption of Mohammed. 
Some traced it to Baphe Meteos, "baptism of Metis," that is, of the 
Gnostic Goddess as Lady of Wisdom. It was a name well known 
among Gnostic sects in the east. 2 Because Baphomet was supposed to 
be the object of the Templars' "devil worship," it or he or she was 


Baptism pictured with the common devilish attributes: hoofs, a goat's face, both 

male and female genitals, etc. 

^^^^_^^^_ 1 . Shah, 225.2. Knight, S.L., 202. 


In 418 a.d., a Catholic church council decided that every human 
child is born demonic as a result of its sexual conception, thus automati- 
cally damned unless baptized. 1 During a Catholic baptismal 
ceremony the priest still addresses the baby, "I exorcise thee, thou 
unclean spirit. . . . Hear thy doom, O Devil accursed, Satan ac- 
cursed!" 2 The exorcism is euphemistically described as "a means to 
remove impediments to grace resulting from the effects of original sin 
and the power of Satan over fallen nature." 3 But it is obvious from the 
folk belief still widespread, that the church's teaching was that every 
newborn infant before baptism belonged to the devil. 4 St. Augustine's 
doctrine of original sin laid the foundation for this idea, and Tertul- 
lian said every baby is born evil; its soul is "unclean" and "actively 
sinful" before baptism. 5 Medieval theologians held that any infant still 
in the womb is doomed to eternal damnation. 6 The Oedipal jealousies 
of men apparently developed these ideas, since few women would 
have pictured babies screaming in an eternity of torture in hellfire, 
simply because no priest had sprinkled them with water before they 

Indeed, priests refused to baptize a child within forty days of its 
birth, for both mother and infant were considered impure (hence too 
dangerous for priests to touch) during that period. "An unbaptized 
child, as well as a woman between childbirth and churching, was 
designated as heathen." 7 The real reason for this "heathenism" appears 
in numerous folk beliefs: it was the birth magic of the ancient 
Goddess that claimed both women and their infants in the performance 
of her Mysteries. In the north it is still said that children dying 
unbaptized go to Frau Holda, or Hel, or Perchta, the underground 
Mother. 8 In the Hebrides, the Goddess's protective ritual is still used 
to preserve children during the perilous pre-baptismal period: a torch is 
daily carried around the cradle as in old pre-Christian custom. 9 Some 
traditional ballads deny the Catholic doctrine that women dying in 
childbed or infants dying unbaptized must go to hell; they claim, 
rather, that such individuals pass into a pagan heaven. Mexican peasants 
still say they go to "a place of delight in the temple of the sun." 10 

Thus, paganism was kinder to infants and their mothers than 
Christianity, so that theologians often felt called upon to explain 
God's apparent cruelty in allowing infants to die unbaptized, so con- 
demning them before they had a chance for salvation. In the 16th 
and 17th centuries, churchmen insisted that God's cruelty was perfectly 
just. Said Martin Del Rio, S.J.: "If, as is not uncommon, God permits 


children to be killed before they have been baptized, it is to prevent their Barabbas 

committing in later life those sins which would make their damnation Barbara, Saint 

more severe. In this, God is neither cruel nor unjust, since, by the mere ^^^^^^^^^^ 
fact of original sin, the children have already merited death." n 

It was customary to refuse baptism altogether to those thought to 
have been conceived out of wedlock, or sinfully. American church- 
men often refused to baptize children born on Sunday, because it was 
thought children were always born on the same day of the week as 
their conception, and marital relations on Sunday were forbidden. 12 

Modern theologians have trouble explaining why baptism should 
be necessary. Few educated parents seriously believe their infants are 
doomed to eternal torture unless splashed with a little water in a church. 
The biblical "fall" that provided the original rationale has long since 
been relegated to the realm of myth. 13 The primitive notion of the 
public name-giving ritual seems to be all that is left to justify the 
formalities: no more than an excuse for people to dress up and get 
together, to celebrate a new life in the clan. Perhaps it should be 
remembered that this function was once the exclusive concern of 
mothers and Goddesses. 

1. H. Smith, 238. 2. de Givry, 157. 3. Encyc. Brit, "Exorcism." 
4. Gifford, 51. 5. Tennant, 333. 6. de Voragine, 585. 7. Wimberly, 372. 
8. Miles, 242. 9. Elworthy, 65. 10. Wimberly, p. 409-10. 11. Robbins, 123. 
12. Murstein, 319. 13. Campbell, F.W.G., 207. 


'Son of the Father," released from prison in Jesus's place, according 
to Luke 23:18. But Barabbas was another title of a sacred king, thus 
some scholars believe it was applied to Jesus himself, when he was 
"released" from the protection of Rome and handed over to Jewish 
priests for their Passover sacrifice. See Jesus Christ. 

Barbara, Saint 

Sancta Barbara, "the Divine Barbarian," a loosely Christianized 
pagan Goddess in her sacred mountain, either the Venusberg, the 
Horselberg, or the Round Mountain near Pozzuoli where she was 
worshipped under this particular title. Within the mountain dwelt the 
heathen dead, "bewitched men and women" who spent their time in 
dancing, lovemaking, and other pleasures until the day of doom. 1 In 
other words, St. Barbara was none other than the Fairy Queen. 

As a spurious martyr, Barbara followed the usual pattern: she was a 
beautiful virgin, tortured by her evil pagan father to make her 
renounce Christianity. She remained steadfast, so her father killed her. 
Then God struck the father dead with a lightning bolt, unfortunately 
a few minutes too late to save Barbara. This was supposed to have taken 


Bartholomew, Saint place in the 3rd century a.d., possibly in Rome, or perhaps Egypt, or 

Bassareus maybe Tuscany, or it might have been somewhere else. Accounts vary. 

^^^^^^^^^^^^ The legend was not concocted until the 7th century. 2 By a rather 

curious association, St. Barbara was invoked to provide protection from 

lightning. 5 

1. Jung & von Franz, 121. 2. Atrwater, 57. 3. Male, 271. 

Bartholomew, Saint 

Pseudo-saint based on a sacred king's title: Bar-Tholomeus, "son of 
Ptolemy." He was inserted into the Gospels as an apostle, but hagiogra- 
phers gave him a different origin. He was called a son of "Prince 
Ptolomeus," crucified in Armenia, and flayed like the satyr Marsyas (see 
Mars). Icons showed him holding a moon-sickle, the sacrificial knife 
of the Middle East. 1 

An alternative history made Bartholomew a missionary to India, 
where he overthrew the idols of the oddly non-Indian deities Astarte 
and Baal-Berith. With many miracles, Bartholomew converted the 
king of that country to Christianity, but the king's brother was 
unaccountably permitted to crucify, flay, and behead the saint 
afterward. 2 

Spurious relics of the saint were installed in the Roman healing 
shrine of Asclepius, which was taken over by Christians and remained 
the Hospital of San Bartolommeo up to the 20th century.* 

1. Brewster, 379. 2. deVoragine, 481-83. 3. Carter, 42. 


"King Serpent," the mythical snake of the poisonous glance, listed as 
a real creature in European bestiaries up to the 1 8th century. Like the 
Gorgon head, whose glance was equally poisonous, the basilisk was 
closely linked with women's menstrual blood. As the serpent-haired 
Gorgon head represented women's "wise blood" and guarded men- 
strual mysteries that men were forbidden to behold, so there was a 
popular medieval belief that a hair taken from the head of a menstru- 
ating woman and buried in the earth would turn into a serpent or 
basilisk. 1 Superstitious folk supposed that all the serpents on the 
Gorgon's head were basilisks, which derived their evil eyes from her 
own deadly glance. 

l.Rawson.A.T., 165-66. 


Lydian fox god, a totemic form of Orpheus or Dionysus, whose 
Maenads were sometimes called Bassarids because they wore fox 


skins. 1 As a pagan deity, the fox became the popular trickster-hero of 
medieval folklore, where he appeared as Reynard or Renaud. He was 
actually worshipped in Cologne cathedral and in Westphalia in the 
9th century a.d. 2 See Dog. 

1. Lamusse, 160. 2. Guerber, L.M.A., 162. 




Egyptian cat goddess, mother of all cats, which were Egypt's most 
sacred animals. Bast's holy city Bubastis was said to possess the land's 
greatest temple. Herodotus said that in Egypt, "All cats that die are 
carried to certain sacred houses, where being first embalmed, they are 
buried in the city of Bubastis." ' The Greeks identified Bast with 
Artemis or Diana, also called the mother of cats, and claimed the great 
shrine of Bubastis was built in her honor. 2 The cat's legendary nine 
lives stemmed from Artemis as the mother of the nine Muses, corre- 
sponding to the Egyptian Ennead of nine primordial deities. See Cat. 

1. Budge, G.E. 2, 61, 364. 2. Herodotus, 106. 


Like barley grains in Greece, beans were yonic symbols in Rome, as 
is still shown by the Italian slang term for female genitals, fava, "bean." * 
Along with all other ancient female-genital symbols, beans were cred- 
ited with magic power to impregnate, because they enclosed ancestral 
spirits, the manes, born in dim prehistory of the Moon-mother Mana. 
The Pythagoreans placed a taboo on eating beans because of their 
supposed possession of spirits. In Rome, each paterfamilias went 
through an annual ceremony of exorcising ancestral spirits by throwing 
beans behind him at midnight, nine times enjoining the manes to 
leave the house. 2 

Another Roman ceremony on the twelfth day after the midwinter 
solstice (Epiphany) recalled ancient customs of choosing a sacred 
king. It was called the Festival of Kings Created or Elected by Beans, 
the beans evidently representing women, the choosing carried out by 
drawing black or white beans. Later, dice were used, and a ceremonial 
king-for-the-night called Basilicus was chosen by the "Venus" throw. 
The ceremony persisted in medieval England, where the Twelfth- 
Night plum cake contained one bean, and the man who received the 
bean was declared king of the festival. 3 

Some overlapping esoteric meanings of beans may be found in the 
Sanskrit word mudra, "kidney beans," also "woman," and a "magical 
gesture," the benevolent spell cast by a Shakti. 4 The influx of Tantric 
symbols into medieval Europe probably gave rise to Jack's beanstalk, 
resembling the Ladder of Heaven in that it was a soul-bridge: "the myth 


Beata of the vine that once joined earth and sky," in the paradisal time 

Behemoth when men knew the way to heaven or thought they did. 5 

^^^^^^^^^^ 1. Young, 74. 2. Lamusse, 213. 3. Ha/litt, 602. 4. Bharati, 41. 5. Eliade, S., 354. 


"Holy woman," Spanish term for a white witch, often a hermitess 
distinguished by her visions, trances, stigmata, miraculous cures, etc. 
The church didn't know what to do with such people. Sometimes, if 
they became famous enough, they were canonized as saints. Sometimes 
they were persecuted for heresy and witchcraft. 


See Baal-zebub. 


Biblical name of the Indian elephant god Ganesha, the "Lord of 
Hosts." ' His title was adopted by the Jewish Jehovah, during the period 
when he was married to the Virgin Goddess Anath, or Neith, in the 
temple of Elephantine in Egypt. Jewish mercenaries stationed there wor- 
shipped the elephant-headed, virgin-born Lord of Hosts as their own 
Yaho (or, Yahweh). 2 At the time, the Jewish God was a subordinate 
spouse of the Goddess who was hailed as "Queen of Heaven and 
mistress of all the gods." 3 

The same Virgin Goddess was the mother, as well as the bride, of 
the elephant bull-god, according to the standard myth of divine incest 
created by identification of Father and Son. In India the mother of 
Ganesha was Parvati, virgin form of Kali. She made him from her 
own "body-dew" (menstrual blood). A true archetypal son, he guarded 
her "gate" (yoni) against the entrance of All-father Shiva. For this 
Oedipal offense he was slain, but resurrected. 4 Upon the same virgin 
mother under her other name of Maya (comparable to Mari, the 
other name of Anath), he begot the next incarnation of the Son of the 
Lord of Hosts: Buddha, the Enlightened One. 

The elephant-god was not forgotten by the Jews, but he was 
dissociated from the later concept of Yahweh, and diabolized. He 
became the demon Behemoth. In this guise he appeared in medieval 
demonologies and grimoires, still wearing the elephant head of Shiva- 
Ganesha. 5 

Yet traces of the earlier divine elephant could be found in Jewish 
tradition. Rabbinical sources said the Passover feast commemorated 
more than one god. The lamb stood for the Firstborn. The fish 
represented Leviathan, the original wise serpent-deity of Levites. 


The hard-boiled egg represented Ziz, or Aziz, or Azazel, the god of 
atonement sacrifices. The bread stood for Behemoth. 6 

1 . Campbell, Or. M., 307. 2. Graves, W.G., 405. 3. Ashe, 30. 
4. Lamusse, 378. 5. de Givry, 137. 6. Hazlitt, 345. 



Corinthian hero, tamer of the Muses' winged horse Pegasus. Grow- 
ing too proud of himself, Bellerophon tried to fly to heaven on Pegasus, 
and was cast down by Zeus. He died lame, blind, and accursed. 


Thracian name for the Goddess as Destroyer, the crone of the 
waning moon. 1 Christian authorities adopted her into the pantheon of 
the underworld as a she-demon. 

1. Graves, GM. 1,61. 

var. Benthesicyme 

Benedict, Saint 

An ancient shrine of the sun god Apollo on Monte Cassino was taken 
over and converted into a Christian monastery. The "St. Benedict" to 
whom it was dedicated was really Apollo Benedictus, the "Good- 
speaker." ' Even Catholic scholars say there is no evidence that "St. 
Benedict" was ever a Christian priest. However, his legend did 
assimilate him to the sun god. When Benedict prayed, "the whole world 
seemed to be gathered into one sunbeam and brought thus before his 
eyes." 2 

1. Rose, 294. 2. Attwater, 62. 


A wearer of the "bear sark" or bearskin shirt; a Nordic warrior 
dedicated to the Goddess Ursel, the She-Bear (see Ursula). Through 
wearing the bear's skin, a warrior acquired the bear's fighting spirit 
and the grace of the ursine Goddess who was often a teacher of the 
martial arts. "Berserk" came to mean one possessed by battle-frenzy, 
careless of his own safety, unable to feel fear. 

Totemic descent from the She-Bear characterized several old 
European clans. The Orsini or Ursini family were "bear's children," 
carrying a bear on their coat of arms. William of Auvergne, bishop of 
Paris in the 16th century, solemnly explained the origin of the Orsinis 
by saying a bear's semen is very like a man's, therefore it was quite 
possible for a bear to beget human children, presumably on a human 


Bible mother. 1 The story reflects contemporary theological opinion that only 

a male can be a true parent. Nothing was said about a she-bear's 

^^^^^^^^^^^ m ovum being like a woman's, nor was there a human father who might 
have begotten children on a bear mother. 

1. Summers, W, 243. 


This word for a holy book came from Byblos, the City of the Great 
Mother, the oldest continuously occupied temple in the world. The 
Goddess called Astarte, Baalat, Hathor, etc. patronized learning, 
and her priestesses collected a library of papyrus scrolls. Therefore, 
Greeks called any papyrus byblos, which came to mean any holy 
book. Hence the "Bible." ' 

Scholars have found in the Bible's numerous layers of additions 
and corrections a substrate of the former Semitic matriarchy, such as 
the Book of Ruth with its matrilineal and matrilocal marriage customs, 
and the Book of Judges with its feminine government of Israel 
(Judges 4:4). In several books the word translated "God" is really a 
feminine plural, "Goddesses," especially in reference to the matriar- 
chal functions of lawgiving, avenging crimes, and bestowing the 
imperium of leadership. 2 

Some of the miracles attributed to biblical heroes were copied from 
older myths of the Goddess. Joshua's arrest of the sun was formerly 
credited to priestesses of Isis, Hecate, and the Thessalian Great Mother, 
who were said to stop heavenly bodies in their courses, and lengthen 
night or day at will. 3 Moses's flowering rod, river of blood, and tablets of 
the law were all symbols of the ancient Goddess. His miracle of 
drawing water from a rock was first performed by Mother Rhea after she 
gave birth to Zeus, and by Atalanta with the help of Artemis. 4 His 
miracle of drying up waters to travel dry-shod was earlier performed by 
Isis, or Hathor, on her way to Byblos. 5 

The greatest mistake of religious authorities in the western 
world was their view of the Bible as intrinsically different from other 
ancient scriptures, in that it was dictated word for word by God, not 
collected slowly, rewritten and mis-written, revised and worked over by 
human beings for a long time. The notion that the Bible did not 
evolve haphazardly, like most other holy writings of the same period, 
persisted almost up to the present day, even among people who 
should have known better. 

According to the prevailing myth of biblical origins, the Old 
Testament was supposed to have been translated from Hebrew to 
Greek by seventy-two translators sent to Ptolemy by Eleazar, a Jewish 
high priest, in the 3rd century B.C., hence its name, Septuagint. 
Ptolemy locked the scholars in individual cells on the island Pharos, 
where each one made his own Greek version in exactly seventy-two 


days. Each translation agreed exactly, in every word, with the other 
seventy-one translations. 

Of course this never happened. The Bible's real history was far less 
tidy. A collection appeared in the first century b.c. and again in the 
first century a.d. to be accepted by the Jews of the Diaspora as sacred, 
and passed on to Christians. In both Jewish and Christian hands the 
papyri underwent many changes. In the 4th century a.d., St. Jerome 
collected some Hebrew manuscripts and edited them to produce the 
Latin Vulgate, a Bible of considerable inaccuracy, differing markedly 
from Jerome's stem texts. 

The King James Bible relied mostly on a Greek text collected and 
edited by Erasmus in the 16th century, which in turn relied on a 
Byzantine collection assembled gradually at Constantinople between 
the 4th and 8th centuries. A few older texts have been discovered: the 
Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Alexandrinus, and 
the Chester Beatty papyri. All are fragmentary, all differ from one 
another and from the King James version. There are no known portions 
of the Bible older than the 4th century a.d. 6 

The Revised Version of the New Testament published in 1881 
tried to correct some of the more glaring errors. It erased the spurious 
final twelve verses of Mark, which were late interpolations including the 
words that caused centuries of suffering: "He that believeth not shall 
be damned." It eliminated the fraudulent translation "Joseph and his 
mother," intended to preserve the dogma of the virgin birth, and 
restored the original "his father and his mother." It omitted the forged 
interpolation intended to preserve the dogma of the trinity: "For 
there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and 
the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." These words appeared 
nowhere before the 1 5th century a.d. However, the Catholic church 
insisted on retaining the forgery. Churchmen's argument was: "How, 
if these verses were an interpolation, could the Holy Spirit, who guides 
and directs the Church, have allowed her to regard this lofty affirma- 
tion of the Trinity as authentic, and permitted its insertion in the official 
edition of the sacred books?" In 1897 the Congregation of the Index, 
with the approval of Pope Leo XIII, forbade any further research into 
the origins of this text. 7 

Traditionally, the church forbade not only research but even 
reading of the Bible by laymen. Throughout the Middle Ages, 
possession of a Bible written in the vernacular was a crime punished by 
burning at the stake. 8 With the Reformation came Bible-reading in 
search of a new basis for faith; but in the process were found many new 
grounds for skepticism. 

Richard Simon's 17th-century Critical History of the Old Testa- 
ment exhibited the now well-known internal evidence that the books 
of Moses were not written by Moses but were compiled by many hands 
at a much later date. Bishop Bossuet pronounced this work of 
scholarship "a mass of impieties," drove its author out of the Oratory, 




Maurice Jones 

Author of The New 
Testament in the 
Twentieth Century, 

and ordered the entire first edition burned. Dr. Alexander Geddes, a 
Catholic scholar, translated the Old Testament in 1792 with a critical 
volume proving that the Pentateuch could not have been written by 
Moses, nor at any time prior to the reign of David. He was denounced 
as "a would-be corrector of the Holy Ghost." 9 

As the years passed, it became increasingly clear that the Holy 
Ghost needed correcting. Seven clerical scholars published Essays 
and Reviews in 1860, defining the new science of Bible criticism. They 
were denounced, and two were suspended from office; but they took 
their case to court, and won. In 1 869 Kuenen's The Religion of Israel 
established Bible criticism as a valid field of investigation. He was 
followed by many others in Holland, Germany, and France. In 1889 
the book of biblical essays called Lux Mundi gave up all pretense of 
the scriptures' historicity or divine inspiration, admitting that the Bible is 
a confused mass of myth, legend, and garbled history, often contra- 
dicting provable facts. 10 

Naturally, there was constant opposition to the efforts of the 
scholars. Many 19th-century churchmen insisted that the Bible's only 
author was God. Dean Burgon said, "The Bible is the very utterance of 
the Eternal; as much God's own word as if high heaven were open 
and we heard God speaking to us with human voice. Every book is in- 
spired alike, and is inspired entirely." Dr. Baylee said the Bible is 
"infallibly accurate; all its histories and narrations of every kind are 
without any inaccuracy." Dr. Hodge declared that the books of the 
Bible are "one and all, in thought and verbal expression, in substance, 
and in form, wholly the work of God, conveying with absolute 
accuracy and divine authority all that God meant to convey without 
human additions and admixtures." 11 Apparently none of these gen- 
tlemen were familiar with the earlier contradictory texts; nor had they 
read the Bible closely enough to see the many passages where God 
contradicted himself. 

The real point was that organized religions had an economic 
interest in maintaining literal interpretation of biblical myths. Guigne- 
bert says, "The doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible . . . necessarily 
placed theology in an attitude of surly and sanguinary hostility toward 
the exact and experimental sciences, which it will not abandon save 
most reluctantly and after as much delay as possible. . . . [Mjethods 
have changed, the illusions still current have decreased, but its spirit is 
scarcely altered." 12 

When the theologians began to give in, they complained that 
viewing the Bible as myth would destroy the whole structure that 
their livelihood and self-respect depended on. After David Straus's 
Lebenjesu disposed of the historicity of the Gospel stories, and 
Renan's Vie de Jesus showed that the Gospels cannot be taken as literal 
truth but only as romantic symbolism, the Rev. Maurice Jones 
exclaimed, "If the Christ-Myth theory is true, and if Jesus never lived, 


the whole civilized world has for close upon two thousand years lain Bible 

under the spell of a lie." 13 The Archbishop of Canterbury found it 
impossible to deny the Bible's apparent lies, and began to backtrack _. 

with his plaintive question, "May not the Holy Spirit make use of myth 
and legend?" 14 

Obviously the Bible was full of myths and legends, but most 
orthodox theologians had no idea of their meaning. One reason was 
that they didn't study the corresponding myths and legends of other 
cultures ancient paganism, modern mysticism, the non-Christian 
beliefs of people both civilized and uncivilized throughout the rest of 
the world. Christian missionaries thought theirs was the only pipeline 
to divinity, the deities of all other people throughout the world were 
devils, and the myths of the Bible were absolutely true whereas all 
other myths were absolutely false. 

Nowadays such crude beliefs seem no less superstitious than the 
primitive animisnvthat the missionaries sought to destroy. Yet an 
even darker blot on the history of Christian missions was their arrogant 
vandalism burning books and artworks, smashing images, forbid- 
ding the songs and poems of heathen tradition instead of listening and 
recording them in order to understand the people, to display a decent 
respect for what alien races held sacred, as the pagan Romans did in the 
days of their empire. It may well have been that, had the missionaries 
been willing to listen and learn, they would have discovered the 
mythology of the Bible all over again in other offshoots from its 
original sources; for all peoples, nearly everywhere in the world, shared 
the same fables of the creation, the flood, the magic garden with its 
tree of life and its primal couple, the wise serpent, the heaven-piercing 
tower, the divided waters, the chosen people, the virgin mothers, the 
saviors, and all the rest. It has been said both testaments of the Bible are 
only recent and relatively corrupt derivations from a world-wide cycle 
of archetypal myths. 15 

Least of all were righteous Christians prepared to understand 
that their awe of the Bible rested on a foundation of magical supersti- 
tion: it was, and is, a fetish. Legal oaths were taken in physical contact 
with a Bible because of a very primitive belief in its destructive mana, 
which would automatically punish perjurors. Both Jews and Chris- 
tians used their Bible for divination, just as a witch might use a crystal 
ball, an African might use a thunder-stone, or a Roman augur might 
use the sacred chickens. Bibliomancy (taking omens from the Bible) was 
sometimes deplored, but from the 4th to the 14th centuries was 
"repeatedly practiced by Kings, Bishops, and Saints." 16 St. Augustine 
frankly recommended taking omens from the Bible "in all cases of 
spiritual difficulty." 17 Even in this "enlightened" age, in both Europe 
and America, the Bible is still used to give omens. 18 

A favorite biblical method for discovering a thief easily lent itself to 
conscious legerdemain. The name of the accused was written on a 



Robert Ingersoll 

(1833-1899) American 
lawyer and lecturer, 
Attorney General of the 
state of Illinois; an 
outspoken popularizer 
of Bible criticism. 

Josephine Henry 

19th-century Kentucky 
suffragist and pam- 
phleteer, active in the 
women's rights 

Elizabeth Cady 

Stanton (1815-1902) 
One of the leaders of 
the women's rights 
movement in the 
U.S.; an associate of 
Susan B. Anthony. 

piece of paper and inserted into the hollow end of a key, which was put 
into the Bible's pages. The diviner recited Psalm 50:18: "When thou 
sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker 
with adulterers." The guilt of the accused was proven if the key was 
found turned around afterward. 19 

Despite the many discoveries and clarifications made by biblical 
scholars in the last century or so, the average Christian's attitude 
toward the Bible is still hardly more sophisticated than this simple- 
minded magic. Most churchmen see to it that their congregations are 
not told the true origins of biblical myths. The most primitive or 
unattractive of these are constantly re-interpreted as deep allegories 
or metaphorical fables, intended by their divine author to wait two 
thousand years or more for a correct explanation. Yet the real 
explanation of the sources of these stories, uncovered by the careful 
researches of the higher critics, is seldom mentioned. Likewise 
ignored are many of the truly awkward passages such as "Thou shalt not 
suffer a witch to live," or God's frequent commands to wage 
merciless war, which no amount of exegesis can fit into a more tolerant 
ethic. 20 

Erroneous but traditional views of Bible origins and meanings are 
doggedly preserved by male chauvinists in particular, since the 
canonical books were deliberately selected and edited to wipe out all 
feminine images of divinity and sanction religious suppression of 
women. Robert Ingersoll pointed out that "As long as woman regards 
the Bible as the charter of her rights, she will be the slave of man." Jo- 
sephine Henry grumbled, "The Bible records that God created woman 
by a method different from that employed in bringing into life any 
other creature, then cursed her for seeking knowledge." Elizabeth 
Stanton said there is no escape from the Bible's "degrading teaching" 
as to the position of women, and advised women to boycott churches. 
"It is not commendable for women to get up fairs and donation 
parties for churches in which the gifted of their sex may neither pray, 
preach, share in the offices and honors, nor have a voice in the 
business affairs, creeds and discipline, and from whose altars come forth 
Biblical interpretations in favor of woman's subjection." 21 

One of the erroneous notions that still keep Christian women 
shackled to their Bible-based "inferior" image is the notion that 
Christianity was founded on the New Testament, when in fact the early 
churches had no Gospels but rather created and produced their 
own. 22 Not only did churchmen falsely pretend an apostolic origin for 
their scriptures; they also weeded out all references to female author- 
ity or participation in Christian origins. 23 Only the forbidden Gnostic 
Gospels retained hints that Jesus had 12 female disciples correspond- 
ing to the 12 male disciples, or that Mary Magdalene was the leader of 
them all. Even women's scholarship was denied. St. Jerome openly 
admitted that his co-authors of the Vulgate were two learned women; 


but later scholars erased the women's names and substituted the 
words "venerable brothers." 24 

l.Encyc.Brit, "Byblos." 2. Mendenhall, 85. 3. Wedeck 231 
4. Graves, CM. 1, 264. 5. Budge, G.E. 2, 191. 6. Pfeifer, 103. 7. Reinach 260 
8.Coulton, 123. 9. White 2, 319, 327. 10. White 2, 343-59. 11 White2'368" 
12.Guignebert,381. 13. H. Smith, 190,479. 14.White2 359 15 Hallet 328 
16. Hazlitt, 47. 17.Waite,O.S., 131. 18. Cavendish, P.E., 83 19 Maple 39 
20.Muller,91. 21. Stanton, ix, 125, 196, 214. 22. Muller 148 23 Paeels 57 
24.Boulding,356,372. ' ' 6 ' ' 



From very early times there was a universal Indo-European belief 
that souls could take the form of birds. Latin aves meant both "birds" 
and "ancestral spirits," or ghosts, or angels. Roman emperors 
achieved godhood in the form of an eagle which was released above an 
emperor's funeral pyre to carry his soul to heaven. 1 Similarly, an 
Egyptian pharaoh's spirit rode aloft, on, or in, the solar hawk of Horus 
released at his funeral. Like Phoenix, he passed through the Fire and 
was reborn with wings. Based on such prototypes, the souls of Christian 
saints ascended to heaven in the form of white doves released at the 
canonization ceremony. 2 

Becoming a bird in a visionary or trance state was a widespread 
symbol of initiatory death and rebirth. Shamans and prophets in the 
South Pacific, Indonesia, Central Asia, and Siberia claimed to transform 
themselves into birds. Buddhist yogis said ecstatic flight was the first 
magical power to be developed by the practice of yoga. "Becoming a 
bird oneself or being accompanied by a bird indicates the capacity, 
while still alive, to undertake the ecstatic journey to the sky and 
beyond." 3 Celtic "fays" or "fairies" could change themselves into 
birds, which is why they were depicted with wings like angels, and why 
witches "flew" to the Sabbat. 4 

The Chinese said women knew the secret of flying before men 
did. The emperor Shun first learned it from two princesses. "Down 
to a certain date the source of magical power lay in women ... an 
indication of an ancient Chinese matriarchy." In northern Europe 
also, the Goddess Freya owned all the magic feather garments that 
enabled magicians to fly through the air like birds. 5 The elaborate 
feather garments of Mayan and Aztec priesthoods probably had the 
same original function, to facilitate their soul-flights. 

Because birds traveled freely between the earthly and heavenly 
realms, they were everywhere regarded as angelic messengers, givers 
of omens, possessors of occult secrets, as well as soul-carriers. Carrion 
crows and vultures took souls to heaven. Storks brought them back to 
earth for rebirth. Wise owls told the secrets of the night; lustful doves 
and nightingales told the secrets of love. Angelic eagles foretold the 



Philo Judaeus (ca. 30 
B.c-40 a.d.) Alexandrian 
Jewish philosopher, 
strongly influenced by 
Hellenistic Platonism, 
Pythagoreanism, and 
Stoicism; author of 
biblical commentaries, 
tracts, and histories. 

Myths repeatedly credit seers with power to understand the lan- 
guage of birds, usually because sacred serpents licked their ears to 
"open" them, as in the case of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra. 6 
Siegfried likewise obtained the power to understand birds, via the 
magic blood of the Great Serpent or dragon. A bird call, a magic 
formula, and singing were expressed by the same word in Germanic 
languages. 7 

The magpie was especially revered as an oracle. It was a picus 
(pecker) sacred to the Goddess Mag, or Magog, eponymous ances- 
tress of Scythian Magnetes, the Amazonian centaurs credited with 
prophetic powers. 8 In Rome, the magpie or woodpecker was a 
totemic form of the god Mars, said to contain his soul between his 
incarnations as Maris or Faunus. 

In Egypt the hawk represented the soul of Horus and of the 
pharaoh who embodied him. Hawks came to stand for that portion of 
every soul called the ba, which could come and go at will after death, 
flying freely in and out of the tomb. Narrow shafts were left open in pit 
graves for the passage of the ba. Similar shafts in pyramids, sometimes 
misconstrued as ventilation shafts, were originally intended to let the 
bird-soul of the deceased fly in and out. 9 

The bird-soul born out of the cremated body entered Egyptian 
mythology as the Phoenix, sometimes a man, sometimes a firebird. 
The name was Greek, meaning "the Phoenician," a reference to 
sacrificed sacred kings of Astarte at Byblos, where they were frequent- 
ly burned. 10 The cult moved to North Africa with Phoenician colonists, 
and was carried on at Carthage where sacred kings perished in flames 
to a very late date. 11 Their bird-souls, reborn from the flames and flying 
to heaven, gave rise to the myth of the Egyptian Phoenix who 
periodically cremated himself and rose again from his ashes. His 
worshippers, identified with the god through his sacraments, partook 
of the same power of heavenly flight. A common expression for death 
was "flying away." 

Philo wrote of the sages' soul-flights: "They accompany in thought 
the Moon and Sun in their circuitings, the choirs of other planets and 
fixed stars, attached below to the ground by their bodies, but giving 
wings to their souls, so that, walking on the ether, they contemplate the 
powers they find there." Still known today as the yogic trance or out-of- 
body experience, the soul-flight was often described in medieval 
books on Hermetic magic: "Nothing can obstruct, neither the Sun's fire 
nor the Ether nor the heaven's revolution nor the bodies of other 
stars; but, cutting across all space, the soul will ascend in its flight up to 
the furthest heavenly body." 12 Bird lore has always clearly expressed 
man's envy of the power of flight and his longing to know what the 
world looks like from high in the sky. 

1. Campbell, Oc.M., 334. 2. Gaster, 769. 3. Eliade, S., 98, 367, 409, 481-82. 

4. Keightley.421. 5. Eliade, S., 386, 449. 6. Graves, G.M. 2, 263. 

7. Eliade, S., 98. 8. Lawson, 244. 9. Budge, A. T., 144-45. 

10. Graves, G.M. 1,69. 11. H. Smith, 136. 12. Lindsay, O.A., 191-92. 


Birth Control Birth Control 

Transition from matriarchal to patriarchal societies usually destroyed 

the natural mammalian system of birth control practiced by animals and ""^"^^^^" 
primitive people: women used to refuse sexual relations during 
pregnancy and lactation, a period lasting anywhere from two to six years 
for each child. The system is still followed in some parts of the world. 
Among the Hunza, pregnant or nursing women do not sleep with their 
husbands. The Semai of Malaya think it correct to forbid sex during 
the long nursing period, as this allows parents to space their children and 
give adequate care to each one. 1 Even in an aggressive male- 
dominated society like the Yanomamo, men say they are afraid to have 
sexual intercourse with a nursing mother. 

Sometimes modern people insult the animals by calling a human 
rapist an "animal." Animals don't rape. Sexual intercourse takes place 
only when the female is receptive. When she is preoccupied with caring 
for her young always her first priority the female shows no sexual 
interest in the male. Should he be so ill-advised as to make sexual 
displays to her, she drives him away with bared teeth. 

There is among animals no question of the use of force on the part 
of the male; the conjunction of the sexes is dependent upon the 
willingness of the female. . . . And the female sexual instincts are subject 
to frequent and prolonged natural suspensions which do not always 
correspond with the operation of those instincts in the male. Among all 
herbivores the females, as soon as they are pregnant, retire from the 
company of the males to seek either complete seclusion and solitude, or to 
collect in herds from which the males are excluded. Female elephants 
drive away all males from the herds of cows and calves not only during the 
long pregnancy of nearly two years, but throughout the period of 
lactation. The behavior is typical of animal females. Had the primitive 
human female admitted the male during menstruation, pregnancy, and 
lactation she would have departed from all biological precedents; her 
behavior would have constituted an abnormality. 2 

Many early records show that human females did not depart 
from biological precedent. Hippocrates and Galen supported the an- 
cient taboo on sex during pregnancy and lactation. There was a 
curious remnant of the taboo even in a popular marriage manual of the 
early 20th century, part of the vast body of sexual misinformation that 
our grandparents struggled with. The author declared that marital 
relations during pregnancy would make the child epileptic. 3 

In most primitive societies it was unthinkable that male sexual 
desires should take precedence over the needs of mothers and their 
children. 4 Patriarchy everywhere sought to change this, through reli- 
gious sanction. Women were to serve men's sexual urges even when 
preoccupied with motherhood. This was the meaning of God's an- 
nouncement to Eve: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy 
conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire 
shall be subject to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" 


Birth Control (Genesis 3:16). In this context, "sorrow" meant labor pangs, as well as 

the harried life of a mother with children too close together, and the 
^^^^^^^^^^^ m illnesses and injuries caused by spreading a mother's care too thin. 

The Christian canon omitted the First Book of Adam and Eve, 
which contradicted the canonical scripture by stating that Eve stuck 
to the old system of birth control after all. She gave birth to Cain 
and his twin sister Luluwa, another incarnation of the lilu or "lily" 
who was also Eve's predecessor Lilith. Then "when the days of 
nursing the children were ended" but not until then "Eve again 
conceived." She produced Abel and his twin sister. After Abel was 
killed at the age of 15 years, Eve produced Seth to replace him. 
"After the birth of these, Eve ceased from childbearing." 5 Thus the 
entire human race descended from these four: Cain, Seth, and their 
sisters. According to this version of the story, Eve was not particu- 
larly troubled by God's curse. 

However, later Judeo-Christian culture insisted on men's con- 
trol of women's bodies. Wives were not to initiate sexual relations, but 
they were never to deny their husbands. The Catholic church laid 
down the law that no wife could accuse her husband of rape even if he 
forced her with accompanying brutality. Sexual "release" was his 
conjugal right (but not hers). 

The church interpreted the fable of Genesis as God's mandate to 
compel women to bear as many children as possible, even at the cost 
of the children's or the mothers' physical health and welfare. 6 Men 
refused to deal with the problem of over-production, and women 
were forbidden to do so, by the church's tradition. In pagan times, 
women used some fairly effective birth-control devices, ranging from 
vaginal sponges to abortifacient drugs. Many churchmen believed the 
witches inherited secret knowledge of such things, which contributed 
to the vigor of witch- and midwife-persecutions. 

Father Dominic Pruemmer recently wrote in American Freedom 
and Catholic Power: "Birth control is nothing else than mutual 
masturbation or unnatural lust." 7 It is not usual to view the "lust" 
of marital partners for each other as unnatural. Nor did the church ever 
object to sex as masturbation when it was for a husband's benefit 
only that is, not mutually satisfying. In fact church-sanctioned litera- 
ture of the 1 7th century said the only purpose of marital sex must be 
conception, and if a woman receives too much pleasure she cannot 
conceive. 8 

The church further taught women that their children belonged 
more to God than to themselves, thus eroding the instinctive mater- 
nal possessiveness that fosters the best of child care. Not illogically, 
mothers often left their unwanted children for God to care for. In the 
1 8th century, the hospital of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris reported 
as many as 5000 infants annually deposited on God's doorstep. 9 Infant 
corpses were rather commonly found among the rubbish of western 
cities. Foundling hospitals were so busy that they set revolving boxes in 


their walls, so infants could be passed through. Yet foundling hospi- Birth Control 

tals seldom saved the children they were given. In practice, they solved 

the problem of excess births by killing babies by the thousands, under ^^^^^^^^^ 

the sanction of male-dominated officialdom. 10 

London's first foundling hospital admitted 1 5,000 infants in the 
four years between 1756 and 1760. Of these, fewer than a third 
survived to adolescence. On the continent, the death rate for children in 
foundling institutions ran between 80 and 90 percent during the first 
year of life. Parish officers entrusted the care of newborns to women 
nicknamed "killing nurses," because they were expected to do the 
state's dirty work, and see to it that the unwanted children did not long 
survive. 11 

In effect, the patriarchal society having outlawed birth control and 
abortion could find nothing better to do with the overflow than 
destroy it after all. Apparently this was all right, as long as the decision to 
give life or withhold it was not being made by the mothers them- 
selves. Vetter found this kind of morality puzzling: 

Is there any evidence that religion has provided a superior brand of 
wisdom for the guidance of secular affairs, or in the burning social 
issues of the day? With the population of the earth growing by geometric 
leaps from unchecked fertility but with epidemics and diseases well 
under control, what religious leaders spoke up for the necessity of planned 
parenthood? Not one! But many did hound Margaret Sanger to prison 
for her constructive work in that direction. IZ 

An Englishwoman gave the following picture of conventional 
morality in regard to reproduction, indicating that religious leaders care 
for their own mythology and ceremonial well ahead of the future 
welfare of the race: 

In a village that I know well a woman, legally married, bore five idiot 
children one after the other; her husband was a confirmed drinker and 
a mental degenerate. One of the children fortunately died. The text that 
was chosen for his funeral card was "Of such is the kingdom of 
heaven. "About the same time in the same village a girl gave birth to an il- 
legitimate child. She was a beautiful girl; the father, who did not live in 
the village, was strong and young; probably the child would have been 
healthy. But the girl was sent from her situation and, later, was driven 
from her home by her father. At the last she sought refuge in a disused 
quarry, and was there for two days without food. When we found her, 
her child had been born and was dead. Afterwards the girl went mad. n 

Margaret Sanger gave her life to the effort to prevent such 
tragedies, both within and without marriage. She believed that "excess 

people, not acts of God, created poverty, famine, and war All 

society would gain . . . if birth control were allowed to shut off the spigot 
that floods the world with weaklings. When sick and unfit mothers 
were not forced to breed, there would be an end to unwanted children 
who grow up to fill our prisons and asylums." 14 

But churches still doggedly opposed the right of women to 


Birth-Giving, Male determine when, where, and how much they shall breed, largely 

because of the deep-seated male desire to control the life-giving miracle 

^^^^^^^^^^ m in which men play only a negligible part biologically. It can hardly be 
denied that male-dominated religions were everywhere devoted to this 
end from their earliest inception. As a result, overpopulation threatens 
the world with virtually unthinkable ecological and sociological dis- 
asters. 15 Even now, in the face of such disasters, religious leaders tend 
to the view that the faithful should multiply forever. 

l.Dentan,98. 2. Briffault 2,400-401. 3. Simons, 161. 4. Briffault 2, 48. 
5. Forgotten Books, 54. 6. See E.T. Douglas. 7. Ellis, 89. 8. Simons, 141. 
9.Lederer,64. 10. M. Harris, 183. 11. M. Harris, 184. 12. Vetter, 513. 
13. Hartley, 347. 14. E.T. Douglas, 137. 15. Hallet.411-12. 

Satapatha Brahmana 

The "Brahmana of 100 
Paths." Brahmanas are 
prose commentaries on 
Vedic scriptures, dated 
from 800 to 500 B.C. 

Padma Purana 

"Lotus Purana." Pura- 
nas are ancient 
Sanskrit scriptures in 
verse, treating of cos- 
mologies, sacred 
histories, and the na- 
ture of the divine. 

Rig Veda Foremost 
of the four Aryan scrip- 
tures written in Vedic 
(an older form of San- 
skrit), ca. 1500-1200 
B.C., containing sacred 
mythology, hymns, 
and verses; literary 
foundations of the 
Vedic religion. 

Birth-Giving, Male 

Since birth-giving was the only true mark of divinity in primitive 
belief, the first gods to claim any sort of supremacy had to claim also the 
ability to give birth. In fact, usurpation of the feminine power of 
birth-giving seems to have been the distinguishing mark of the earliest 

Lacking vaginas, many gods gave birth from their mouths. Priests 
of Ra claimed their god gave birth to the first couple from his mouth. 
The Satapatha Brahmana said the god Prajapati learned to give birth to 
creatures from his mouth; but before he could manage it, he had to 
make sacrifices to an older, higher power: the Goddess Svaha, Lady of 
Sacrifices. According to the Padma Purana, a god named Sukra 
(Seed) was born from Shiva's penis, after living in Shiva's belly for a 
hundred years. However, this was not a proper maternal-type birth. 
Sukra existed beforehand, and Shiva had to make himself pregnant by 
swallowing him. 1 

The Rig Veda spoke of a male creator who gave birth to the 
Mother of Creation, then impregnated her, so she brought forth the 
rest of the universe. Brahmans tried to claim the Mother of All Gods 
was born from Brahma's body, even though she was the mother of 
Brahma too. 2 Brahma was known as Lotus-Born, meaning he sprang 
from the primal Yoni, the Goddess Padma ("Lotus"). His first 
Lotus Throne was located in her lap. The Rig Veda also called her Vac, 
the Great Womb, the Queen, the First, the Greatest of All Deities. 
She said: "I begot the All-Father on high. I dwell in the waters, the 
deep, and thence extend through all creatures, and touch the heavens 
with my crown. Like unto the wind I blow, encompassing all creatures; 
above the heavens and above the earth." 3 

Hellenic Greeks pretended their new Father Zeus gave birth to the 
much older Goddess Athene from his head. But before he could 
give birth to Athene, he had to swallow her real mother, Metis 
(Wisdom), who was pregnant with her at the time. 4 The Hellenes 
also claimed Zeus gave birth to Dionysus from his thigh; but again, the 


real mother was the Moon-goddess Selene, whom Zeus killed during Birth-Giving, Male 

her pregnancy. As Conductor of Souls, Hermes took the six-month 

fetus from Selene's womb and sewed him up in Zeus's thigh to 

continue his gestation. ^^^^^^^^ 11 

A Greek carving showed the god Apollo sitting on a pile of eggs, 
trying to copy the life-giving magic of his mother Leto, or Leda, or 
Latona, who gave birth to the World Egg and hatched it. 5 This World 
Egg was an old Oriental idea. The Satapatha Brahmana said it 
contained "the continents, the oceans, the mountains, the planets and 
the divisions of the universe, the gods, the demons, and humanity." 6 
Thus, birth laying the egg was the image of cosmic creation, and 
creator-gods needed to copy it. In Egypt, the mother of the World 
Egg was Hathor in the guise of the Nile Goose, later mythologized as 
the Goose who laid the Golden Egg. (See Goose.) 

Atum, the local god of Heliopolis, the biblical "City of On," 
claimed to give birth to a primal couple from his penis by masturbat- 
ing. Pyramid Texts of 2000 B.C. said "Atum created in Heliopolis by an 
act of masturbation. He took his phallus in his fist, to excite desire 
thereby. And the twins were born, Shu and Tefnut." 7 However, priests 
of Khepera insisted that their god produced Shu and Tefnut by 
masturbation and self-fertilization through his mouth. Yet the oldest 
traditions said Shu and Tefnut ("Dryness" and "Moisture") were 
born of the primal Mother, Iusaset. Like the biblical God who copied 
her many centuries later, she not only created the first couple, but 
also brought forth light as her first act of creation. 8 

Before begetting was understood, archaic myth-makers tried all 
sorts of ideas for making a male body produce offspring. A Chinese 
ancestor-god, Kun, suffered a crude Caesarian section. He was slain and 
cut open so Yu, founder of the Hsia dynasty, could emerge from his 
stomach. 9 Norsemen said a first male-and-female couple were born 
from the sweaty armpit of the giant Ymir, who imitated Mother 
Earth in that his flesh became the soil, his blood the sea, his bones the 
mountains. 10 Ymir's skull became the dome of the heavens, support- 
ed at four corners by four dwarves, Austri, Vestri, Nordri, and Sudri 
(East, West, North, and South), northern copies of the Sons of 
Horus. ' ' Similar cardinal-direction gods became identified with the four 
angels of the Apocalypse and four evangelists, whose totems were 
the same. 12 Totem Symbol or 

The god Loki gave birth to Odin's horse, after making himself embodiment of an 

pregnant by eating a woman's heart. 15 The usual mythic symbol of a rationahSrif 31 ' ^ 

woman's heart, from Egypt to northern Europe, was an apple. Thus it frequently in animal 

might be assumed that in some prototypical versions of the Eden f orm; a divine or 

story, Adam ate the apple before, not after, he gave birth to Eve. semi-divine mascot 

Adam's birth-giving was a syncretic product of numerous local supposed to have 

notions of the male mother. A Hittite god, Kumarbi, managed to esce " e r man 

_ r , animal ancestor, 

become pregnant by eating his rival s penis. His offspring retused to 

come out through his mouth or ears, and having no vagina he was 


Birth-Giving, Male unable to deliver them. Finally the sea god Ea took them out through 

his side, as Adam's God did later. The idea for Adam's magic birth- 

^^^^^^^^^^^^ giving rib came from a Sumerian childbirth-goddess, Nin-ti, "Lady of the 
Rib." Since ti meant both "rib" and "life," she was also a Lady of 
Life. She made infants' bones in utero from their mothers' ribs, which is 
why biblical writers thought ribs possessed the magic of maternity. 14 

An odd male-birth myth came from Persia's intensely patriarchal 
Zoroastrian cult, suggesting a combination of homosexuality and 
bestiality. The primal being, the Sole-Created Bull, was castrated and 
slain. Its semen went to the moon to be purified; then from this 
purified seed two new bulls were formed. From these, "all animals 
descended." The hidden feminine element in this phallic fantasy was 
the moon, of course; but the two bulls must have procreated homosex- 
ually. This idea was not unknown even in Christian Europe. 
"Authorities" like Paracelsus taught that a monster may be born of a 
man as a result of oral or anal intercourse with another man. 15 No 
matter how impossible it seemed, men apparently wished to preserve at 
any price the notion that a male could give birth. 

Christianity demoted the Goddess to mortal status in both Eve and 
Mary, whom mystics regarded as two incarnations of the same 
person. In both incarnations she was a Mother of her Father. Gnostic 
Gospels said Adam came into being from the virgin Earth, who was 
none other than Eve. 16 The story of her birth from Adam was a late, 
distorted version of the myth. 

Unless the male spirit is able as in mathematics to construct a purely 
abstract world, it must make use of the nature symbols originating in 
the unconscious. But this brings it into contradiction with the natural 
character of the symbols, which it distorts and perverts. Unnatural 
symbols and hostility to the nature symbol e.g. Eve taken out of 
Adam are characteristic of the patriarchal spirit. But even this attempt 
at revaluation usually fails, as an analysis of this symbolism might show, 
because the matriarchal character of the nature symbol asserts itself 
again and again. ' 7 

Throughout the world, men's initiatory dramas enacted birth- 
giving to represent even the attainment of man's estate. Apparently men 
could think of no better way to adopt new members into their 
fraternities than to make the novices symbolically dead and reborn, 
often from a male mother. In New Guinea, initiates into the men's 
group crawled out from between the legs of men costumed as the birth 
spirit. 18 Australian men opened their veins to bathe a young initiate 
into their blood, magically imitating the blood of the womb. 19 

Baptismal rebirth from male blood was an idea shared by all 
mystery cults of the early Christian era. In the Mithraic Mysteries, an 
initiate was showered with the blood of the sacrificial bull and pro- 
nounced "reborn for eternity." 20 Afterward he was fed on milk, like 
an infant. 21 From primitive times to the present, men's groups devised 
theatrical imitations of birth, often claiming the rites were stolen from 


women or that women were murdered for them and have sought to Bitch 

protect these masquerades with all the taboos their priesthoods could 

invent. 22 In Malekula, men even applied the name of mara to the place ^^^^__ ^_ 
where male initiations were held; it meant the women's obstetrical ^^^^^^ 

enclosure or birth-temple. 23 

In its determined exclusion of women, early Christianity evolved 
some "birth rites" of a somewhat homosexual cast. Some writers 
claimed Christian men could "impregnate" each other, in the spiritual 
sense, by kissing: "For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give 
birth." 24 But it was hard for men to see themselves as perfect, when 
they conspicuously lacked the ability to bring forth and nurture new 
members of their race. Thus their endless quest for superiority nearly 
always required some travesty of motherhood. 

Symbolic motherhood represented authority in the medieval 
Russian Orthodox wedding ceremony. The bridegroom threw the 
lap of his gown over his bride, signifying adoption by the ancient rite of 
mock birth. The wearer of the gown was "mother"; the one emerg- 
ing from under it was "child." The Christian idea was to show that a 
husband exercised over his wife the authority of a mother over her 
child. It is strange that, when fatherhood meant authority in practice, 
men still thought it necessary to clothe that authority in the symbols 
of motherhood. 

l.O'Flaherty, 32-33, 297. 2. Larousse, 345; O'Flaherty, 26. 3. Briffault 1,7. 
4. Graves, G.M. 1, 46. 5. Knight, S.L., 147. 6. Larousse, 346. 7. Lederer, 156. 
8. Budge, G.E. 1, 297, 354, 429. 9. Hallet, 180. 10. Larousse, 248. 
11. Branston, 60. 12. Budge, E.M., 89. 13. Turville-Petre, 129. 
14.Hooke,M.E.M, 115. 15. Silberer,71, 144. 16. Pagels, 53. 
17. Neumann, G.M., 50. 18. Briffault 2,687. 19. F. Huxley, 103. 20. Angus, 239. 
21. Guignebert, 71-72. 22. Mead, 102-3. 23. Neumann, G.M., 159. 
24. Robinson, 135. 


This became a naughty word in Christian Europe because it was one of 
the most sacred titles of the Goddess, Artemis-Diana, leader of the 
Scythian alanioi "hunting dogs." The Bitch-goddess of antiquity was 
known in all Indo-European cultures, beginning with the Great Bitch 
Sarama who led the Vedic dogs of death. The Old English word for 
a hunting dog, bawd, also became a naughty word because it applied to 
the divine Huntress's promiscuous priestesses as well as her dogs. 1 

Harlots and "bitches" were identified in the ancient Roman cult of 
the Goddess Lupa, the Wolf Bitch, whose priestesses the lupae gave 
their name to prostitutes in general. 2 Earthly representatives of the Wolf 
Bitch ruled the Roman town of Ira Flavia in Spain, as a queen or 
series of queens named Lupa. 3 

In Christian terms, "son of a bitch" was considered insulting not 
because it meant a dog, but because it meant a devil that is, a 
spiritual son of the pagan Goddess. 

1. Potter & Sargent, 208. 2. Murstein, 76. 3. Hartley, 237. 


Blaise, Saint 

Blaise, Saint 

Spurious canonization of the Slavic horse-god Vlaise, or Vlas, or 
Volos: a consort of the lunar Diana. He was Christianized about the 8th 
century, but kept his pagan function as a patron of animals. 1 Charms 
read aloud in churches claimed he could heal any sick beast. 2 The myth 
of his martyrdom was dressed up with the traditional seven pries- 
tesses, who gathered up his sacred blood. 5 In England he was known as 

1. Attwater, 70. 2. Scot, 197. 3. de Voragine, 155. 


Accepted title for 
eleven Welsh tales 
from bardic oral 
tradition, first 
collected in the Red 
Book of Hergest, ca. 
1400 A.D. 


"White Flower," the Lily Maid of Celtic initiation ceremonies, 
representing the Virgin aspect of the Goddess the red flower standing 
for the Mother, and the black bird for the Crone, according to the 
three sacred colors of the Gunas. Celtic romances said Blancheflor 
received Perceval into the fairy-religion, before he was converted to 
Christian purity at the hands of literary monks. She was the same as the 
Tantric Indian lady-love of Perceval's predecessor, Peredur Paladrhir 
of the Mabinogion. The monks calumniated Blancheflor, as any Shakti 
would have been calumniated by ascetics. They described her as a 
Jewish witch who coupled with Satan at a sabbat, and gave birth 
to Antichrist. 1 

1. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 169. 

Cornelius Tacitus 

Roman historian 
and rhetorician, ca. 
56-120 a.d. 


From Old English bletsain, earlier bleodswean, "to sanctify with 
shedding of blood." l It was the custom to consecrate altars by sprinkling 
them with blood, and to "bless" individuals by marking them with 
blood, as is still the custom of foxhunters who "blood" new members of 
the club after a kill. According to Tacitus, the Celts "deemed it 
indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives." 2 The 
Romans did the same in essence, though their altars were "blessed" with 
the blood of sacrificial animals. 

Catholics now bless altars by sprinkling them with salt, an ancient 
custom of the Jews, based on the primitive idea that blood and salt 
were magical equivalents because they tasted alike. Egyptian altars were 
dedicated with salt. In Egypt, dedi was the magic salt that made Nile 
water become "as human blood." 3 (See Menstrual Blood; Salt.) 

Blessing a person by drawing a cross on his head and breast 
originated with the Mithraic rite of the Taurobolium, when the cross 
(an emblem of Mithra) was marked thus on participants with the bull's 
blood, so they became official witnesses of the ceremony of rebirth. 


To be blessed meant to be saved, through the magic of blood, as the 
Christian Gospels also admitted: "Almost all things are by the law 
purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" 
(Hebrews 9:22). 

l.M. Harrison, 129. 2. Pepper & Wilcock, 217. 3. Erman,49. 



Welsh Virgin Goddess of spring, all made of flower-buds, her beauty 
disguising a personification of the blood-hungry soil waiting to be 
fructified with the lifeblood of the sacred king. She also personified 
the "blood wedding" whereby Llew Llaw GyfFes became her doomed 
bridegroom and died from a spear-thrust in the side, according to the 
classic pattern seen in Balder, Jesus, Krishna, and many others. His soul 
became an eagle; but he rose again in human form to challenge his 
slayer, Gronw, to another bout the following year. Like Gawain and the 
Green Knight, or Frey and Njord in Scandinavia, the two "blood- 
gods" (blotgodar) alternately sacrificed each other in seasonal cycles. 1 
The reincarnated Llew Llaw killed Gronw with a spear-thrust 
through a sacred holed stone. 

Blodeuwedd's totemic form was an owl, the same bird of wisdom 
and lunar mysteries that accompanied or represented ancient God- 
desses like Athene and Lilith. Owls were almost invariably associated 
with witches in medieval folklore. She was also the Ninefold Goddess 
of the western isles of paradise, otherwise known as Morgan, the Virgin 
blending into the Crone of death. She said: "Nine powers in me 
combined, Nine buds of plant and tree. / Long and white are my fin- 
gers, As the ninth wave of the sea." 2 

1. Turville-Petre, 163. 2. Graves, W.G., 29, 340. 


See Menstrual Blood. 


Warrior queen of the Iceni who led her tribe against Roman invaders 
of Britain in 60 a.d. Tacitus said the Roman soldiers had dared to 
scourge the queen and rape her two daughters, besides plundering 
the country. Boadicea took her revenge by slaughtering an entire legion; 
but an overwhelming number of reinforcements were sent to quell 
the revolt. In the end, the Britons were defeated, and Boadicea killed 
herself to avoid capture and disgrace. 1 

1. Tacitus, 337-41. 

var. Boudicca 

Cornelius Tacitus 

Roman historian 
and rhetorician, ca. 
56-120 a.d. 


Boar Boar 

Sacrificial boar-gods common to both Scandinavian and Middle- 
Eastern traditions began with the Indian cult of Vishnu, who claimed to 
create the world by virtue of his self-sacrifice in boar shape. Vishnu 
said the blood of his boar incarnation had the creative power that only 
the Mother's blood formerly had: "Gods and creatures arise out of 
the sacrifice, for the sacrifice is their appointed food. Everything will 
always arise from the sacrifice; this whole universe is made of the 
sacrifice." Vishnu dared to copulate with the Earth Goddess while she 
was menstruating, and begot three boar-sons who were also sacrificed 
by "gods saying Om," the Word of creation. 1 

Vishnu the Boar represented an early attempt to re-assign to a 
male the holy creative blood of life, the Goddess's menstruum. As the 
phallic god who gave his life for humanity, he was worshipped in 
conjunction with the Goddess by Germanic Aryans who, Tacitus 
said, "worship the mother of the gods, and wear as a religious symbol 
the device of a wild boar." 2 

This Germanic boar-god became the doomsday-averting Savior 
and Lord of Death, in both human and porcine form, "born in the 
days of old . . . of the race of gods." He was identified with Heimdall, 
born of the Earth-and-Sea mother, fathered by boar blood. "He was 
made strong with the force of the earth, with the cold sea and the blood 
of the sacrificial boar." 3 That is, like most gods, in dying he begot 
himself again. 

The boar-god was sacrificed especially at Yul (Yule), with an apple 
in his mouth, symbolizing his regenerated heart-soul, according to 
the Scandinavian belief that apples were resurrection charms. 4 Hence 
the traditional Yule pig roasted with an apple in its mouth. There was 
a mystical meaning behind the pork-eating ritual. "Valhalla's boar" was 
cooked in a cauldron, the regenerative womb-symbol, and the skalds 
said of it, "It's prime of pork, but few men know on what Valhalla's 
champions feed." 5 If one may hazard a guess, Valhalla's champions 
used to feed on human flesh, for which the boar was substituted. 
Swedish priests in boar masks were regarded as incarnations of Frey, 
and husbands of Freya, indicating an identification with the sacrificial 
god who once wedded the Mother and died as both a boar and a 
man. 6 

The Jews' taboo on pig's flesh was nothing so hygienic or rational 
as fear of trichinosis, as some modern apologists have tried to suggest, 
showing gross misunderstanding of the biblical mentality. Reinach said, 
"In the whole of the Bible there is not a single instance of an epi- 
demic or a malady attributed to the eating of unclean meats. ... To the 
Biblical writers, as to contemporary savages, illness is supernatural; it 
is an effect of the wrath of spirits. The pious Jew abstains from pork 
because his remote ancestors, five or six thousand years before our 
era, had the wild boar as their totem." 7 

Like their neighbors, the Jews worshipped sacrificial boar-gods: 


Syrian Adonis, for one. Boars were offered to Astarte in Syria, and to Bogey 

her counterpart Demeter in Greece. Demeter's Eleusinian Mysteries 

mythologized the boar sacrifice as "pigs falling into a crevice in the ^^^^^^^^^ 

earth" at the moment when Pluto, Lord of Death, seized his virgin 

bride Kore. 8 The custom of driving sacrificial pigs into pits, as in the 

rites of Demeter and Astarte, appeared in Christian Gospels as the 

miracle-tale of the Gadarene swine, whose sacrificial death impelled 

by "demons" was re-assigned to the intervention of Jesus (Mark 


Myths of dying gods like Tammuz, Attis, and Adonis featured the 
boar, or boarskin-clad priest, who sacrificed the god in swine form. 
Such gods were "gored in the groin" by the boar, an allegory of ritual 
castration. 9 As lovers of the Goddess, they were chosen from mem- 
bers of her priesthood. The sacrificer of Adonis was another of the 
Goddess's lovers, Ares, wearer of the boarskin. The sacrificer and 
castrater of Attis was his divine alter ego, a boar sent by Zeus, or by the 
king of Phrygia these presumed simultaneously incarnate in the 
same body. 10 Like Christ, Attis was the dying Son later resurrected as 
the Father who decreed his death in the first place. Similarly, Vishnu 
the Boar decreed death for his boar-sons. 11 Some myths said Attis died 
in the same way as Adonis, being gored by a boar. Others said Attis 
himself was the boar, a totemic sign of his kingship. 12 

Malekula presents an original primitive view of the sacrificial 
animal as savior or surrogate for men. Mother Death guards the gates 
of the after-world. A man must pass these gates by distracting her 
attention with his sacrificial pig. While she devours the pig, he slips 
by her. 13 After sacrificing and eating on earth the savior-pig who 
becomes part of himself, the man says, "It is no longer I who live, but 
my sacrifice who lives in me." H Christians similarly ate their god in 
communion, and were taught to recite at the gate of heaven, "No 

more I, but Christ." 
The old cults of the boar were not altogether forgotten. Medieval 
fairy tales abound in magic boars, often figuring as sacrificial animals. 
The first French book printed on the subject of witchcraft, de Spina's 
Fortress of the Faith, declared that French witches assembled at a 
certain sacred rock to worship the devil in the shape of a boar. 15 

l.O'Flaherty, 196-97. 2. Tacitus, 73 1 . 3. Turville-Petre, 147-48. 
4. Turville-Petre, 187. 5. Sturluson, 63. 6. Gelling & Davidson, 162. 
7. Reinach, 19-20. 8. Graves, G.M. 1, 94. 9. Graves, G.M. 1, 72. 
10. Graves, W.G., 198. 11. O'Flaherty, 196. 12. Campbell, P.M., 427. 
1 3. Campbell, P.M., 447. 14. Campbell, M.I., 456. 15. Robbins, 27. 


The Bogey-man was a devil derived from Slavic bog, "god." English 
cognates were bugabow, bugaboo, bugbear, and boggle-bo, which used 
to signify a pagan image carried in procession to the games of May 
Day. 1 "Humbug" came from Norse hum, "night," plus bog or bogey, 


Bogomils i.e., a night spirit. 2 The word "bug," from Welsh bwg, "spirit," was 

Bones applied to insects because of the old belief that insects were souls in 

^^^^^^^^^^^^ search of rebirth. 3 A mantis was the soul of a seer or wizard. A 
butterfly was Psyche, the Female Soul. 

Other derivations of bog were Scottish bogle, Yorkshire boggart, 
English Pug, Pouke, and Puck; Icelandic Puki; the Puk of Friesland; 
the German Putz or Butz; Irish Pooka and Welsh Pwcca; Danish 
Spoge and Swedish Spoka with their English offshoot, "spook." 4 Old 
English puca, a fairy, was applied to the old gods of Beltain. 5 Thus Puck 
was the same as the witches' god, Robin. 

1. Hazlitt, 80. 2. Leland, 161. 3. Spence, 96. 4. Keightley, 315-16. 
5. Potter & Sargent, 295. 


"God-lovers," Gnostic Christian heretics in the Balkans, 12th to 14th 
centuries a.d. Allied with the basically Manichean heresies of the 
Paulicians of Armenia and the Patarenes of Bosnia, the Bogomils arose 
in Bulgaria in revolt against the abuses of the Roman church, rejecting 
baptism, the Eucharist, the cross, miracles, church buildings, and the 
whole organization of orthodoxy. Like other Manicheans, they held that 
the God who created this world of matter was a demon. 1 

The Bogomils were highly puritanical but less sexist than the 
Roman church. They admitted women to religious offices on an 
equal basis with men. The Catholic writer Cosmas condemned as 
"deviltry" their custom of appointing women to hear confessions and 
give absolution to men. 2 Up to the late 14th century, Bogomilism was 
"the most powerful sectarian movement in the history of the Bal- 
kans," but Catholic crusades drove many members of the sect into the 
arms of Islam, and the movement was crushed. See Bugger. 

1. Encyc. Brit, "Bogomils." 2. Spinka, p. 66. 


Many religions tabooed breaking the bones of a sacrificial animal, on 
the theory that the gods needed a complete skeleton to resurrect it 
anew. 1 On one occasion, the god Thor killed and resurrected two 
goats, but the thighbone of one had been damaged, so the new goat was 
lame. 2 

The same belief is evident in the Bible. Concerning the paschal 
lamb, God ordered: "Neither shall ye break a bone thereof" (Exodus 
12:46); "They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break 
any bone of it" (Numbers 9:12); "He keepeth all his bones; not one of 
them is broken" (Psalms 34:20). To fulfill all these alleged prophe- 
cies, Jesus's bones were left intact to identify him with the Lamb: "That 


the scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken" 
(John 19:36). 

Several saints' legends also made use of regenerative bones. 
St. Germain resurrected a calf, on whose flesh he had just feasted, by 
laying the bones on the hide and praying over them. 3 A derivative' 
medieval belief was that every body contains an incorruptible seed-bone, 
"out of which, as they say, as a plant out of the seed, our animal 
bodies shall in the resurrection of the dead spring up." 4 

l.Lnrvusse, 307. 2. Silberer, 82. 3. de Voragine, 398. 4. Agrippa, 88. 



India's patriarchal god, whose priests tried to establish wholly male- 
dominated society and eliminate the Mother Goddess who, 
nevertheless, remained the parent of Brahma as she was of the other 
gods. Though some of Brahma's scriptures tried to dissociate him from 
the Mother by calling him "the Birthless," yet the same scriptures 
incongruously referred to him as the Goddess's "Firstborn." 1 

The older dharma (holy law) said the worst of crimes was killing a 
woman or female child, because it meant killing unborn generations. 2 
However, like most patriarchal systems, Brahmanism lifted the taboo on 
male aggression against females, and claimed that it was better to kill 
women than to insult Brahmans: "To revile and calumniate a worship- 
per of the Supreme Brahman is a sin ten million times worse than 
that of killing a woman." 3 

Like the medieval Christian church, Brahman priests made rules 
for rigid control of wives, and made their deity say any other kind of 
marriage was a sin that made the wife a whore and the children 
illegitimate, disqualified for religious observances. 4 

Brahman marriage reversed the old system of matrilineal inheri- 
tance, insisting that property must pass from father to son. A widow 
without male children was entitled to inherit only if she "lives under the 
control of the relations of her husband, and in their absence under 
the control of her father's relations" that is, male relations "then 
only is she entitled to inherit. The woman who is even likely to go 
astray is not entitled to inherit the husband's property." 5 In practice of 
course, any or all of these male groups could easily declare the widow 
unfit to inherit and divide the property among themselves. 

Brahmanism was essentially paternal ancestor-worship, possibly the 
root of similar paternal ancestor-worship instituted in Israel by the 
legendary Abraham, whose name meant "Father Brahm." There was 
the same obsession with record-keeping. At every Brahman wedding, 
long lists of paternal ancestors were recited, like the biblical lists of 
"begats." Brahman sons were taught to recite: "My father is my 
highest Dharma My father is my Heaven. On my father being 


Brigit, Saint 

satisfied, the whole Universe is satisfied." Brahma also displayed the 
patriarchal god's usual insistence on exclusivity: "Those who are averse 
to My doctrine are unbelievers and sinners, as great as those who slay 
a Brahman." 6 

It is clear that Jewish patriarchy owed a debt to Brahman prece- 
dent. From the Far East came the legend of the Golden Age of 
righteousness, when men were free from sin, had great longevity, and 
grew to gigantic size. 7 Comparable were the long-lived biblical 
patriarchs of the antediluvian age when there were "giants in the earth" 
(Genesis 6:4). The story of Cain and Abel was Indo-Iranian. Vedic 
poets used to beg their god to accept their sacrifices, and reject those of 
other arya (men). 8 

The legend of Jonah was prefigured by the Indian tale of Candra- 
gomin, who endangered the ship he sailed on because a rival 
magician caused a storm and took the form of a sea beast to swallow 
him. 9 

Talmudic tradition adopted the typical Oriental belief in transmi- 
gration of souls; Adam's soul passed by transmigration into David, 
than into the Messiah. 10 Brahmanic revelation seemed to be part of the 
Messianic promise also. The Katha Upanishad said Brahma is realized 
in one's own soul dimly, as if seen in a mirror; but in the heaven of 
Brahma he is realized clearly, "as one distinguishes light from 
darkness." 11 The New Testament repeats the same message copied al- 
most word for word: "For now we see through a glass (i.e., mirror) 
darkly, but then face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12). The Brahman 
doctrine that a thousand years is one Day of Brahma is repeated in 
Psalms 90:4, and again in the First Book of Adam and Eve, where God 
explains that "five days and a half for him means 5,500 years for 
men. 12 

Brahma is no longer popular in his native land. He is described as a 
"theologian's god, whose worship never struck vital roots in the 
popular folk soil." He was used mainly to support the caste system. 
"Today Brahma is so relatively unimportant that only one or two 
temples in all India are reserved for his exclusive worship." 13 

1. Upanishads, 22. 2. O'Flaherty, 293. 3. Mahanirvanatantra, 45 . 4. Ibid., 45, 58. 
5. Ibid., 283. 6. Ibid., 215, 236, 16, 242. 7. Ibid., xlvii. 8. Dumezil, 425. 
9. Tatz & Kent, 146. 10. Waddell, 226. 11. Upanishads, 23. 
12. Forgotten Books, 6. 13. Ross, 57. 

Cormac's Glossary 

Compendium of old 
Irish terms and leg- 
ends, attributed to 
Archbishop Cormac 
Mac Cullenan (d. 908 
a.d.), king of Mun- 
ster. However, some 
scholars believe the 
Glossary was compiled 
later than his 

Brigit, Saint 

Triple Goddess of the great Celtic empire of Brigantia, which 
included parts of Spain, France, and the British Isles. Before she was a 
saint, she was a typical feminine trinity. Brigit ruled; her two sisters 
governed the arts of healing and smithcraft. Cormac's Glossary called 

her "Brigit the female sage Brigit the goddess, whom poets 

adored, because her protecting care over them was very great and very 
famous." 1 


Dr. MacCulloch said Brigit "originated in a period when the Celts 
worshipped goddesses rather than gods, and when knowledge 
leechcraft, agriculture, inspiration were [sic] women's rather than 
men's. She had a female priesthood and men were perhaps excluded 
from her cult, as the tabooed shrine at Kildare suggests." 2 Brigit's 
priestesses at Kildare kept an ever-burning sacred fire like that of the 
temple of Vesta in Rome. They called the three personae of Brigit the 
"Three Blessed Ladies of Britain" or the "Three Mothers," and 
always identified them with the moon. 3 

The number of Brigit's priestesses at Kildare was 19, representing 
the 19-year cycle of the Celtic "Great Year." Greeks said the sun god 
of the north, whom they called Hyperborean Apollo, visited the north- 
ern "temple of the moon goddess" once every 19 years, a mythic 
expression of the coincidence of solar and lunar calendars. 4 In reality the 
period of coincidence was 18.61 years, which meant the smallest 
regular unit to give a"mating" of sun and moon was 56 years, two 
cycles of 19 and one of 18. This astronomical data was well known to 
the builders of Stonehenge, who marked the span of Great Years with 
posts around their circle. 5 

Brigit was older than Celtic Ireland, having come with Gaelic 
Celts from their original home in Galatia. One of her earliest shrines 
was Brigeto in Illyricum. 6 Long before the Christian era, the Goddess 
of the Brigantes was said to be the same as Juno Regina, Queen of 
Heaven, and Tanit, the Dea Celestis (Heavenly Goddess). 7 

Finding the cult of Brigit impossible to eradicate, the Catholic 
church rather unwisely canonized her as a saint, calling her Bridget 
or Bride. Hagiographers declared she was a nun who founded a convent 
at Kildare. But the convent was noted for its heathenish miracles and 
evidences of fertility magic. Cows never went dry; flowers and sham- 
rocks sprang up in Brigit's footprints; eternal spring reigned in her 
bower. Irish writers refused to reduce their Goddess to mere sainthood, 
and insisted that she was Queen of Heaven, which meant identifying 
her with Mary. She was called "Mother of my Sovereign, Mary of the 
Goidels, Queen of the South, Prophetess of Christ, Mother of 
Jesus." 8 

An Irish charm against the evil eye suggested collusion between 
the pagan and Christian heavenly-mother figures; it was "the Spell 
the great white Mary sent to Bride the lovely fair." 9 She was also the 
mystic mother-bride of St. Patrick, supposed to have died as one of 
her sacrificial victims, and entered the underworld via her sacred grove 
at Deny Down. An old distich said, "On the hill of Down, buried in 
one tomb, were Bridget and Patricius." 10 Since Patrick's name meant 
"father," and he was as apocryphal as other Irish saints, he may have 
been a new name for Brigit's old consort the Dagda or "father." 

Three churches of "St. Brigit" occupied her Triple-Goddess 
territory of Hy Many, formerly Emania or Emain Macha, country of 
the Moon. Baptismal fees of those churches belonged to the O'Kelly 
tribes, descended from the Goddess's kelles or sacred harlots. Her 

Brigit, Saint 

J. A. MacCulloch 

Scottish scholar, author 
of The Religion of 
the Ancient Celts, 1911. 

Illyricum (or Illyria) 
Ancient name for the 
northwestern part of 
the Balkan peninsula, 
sometimes including 
parts of modern 
Serbia, Bulgaria, 
Austria, and the Tyrol. 


Brimstone original female trinity was semi-Christianized as a "Wonder-working 

Triad" consisting of Brigit, Patrick, and Columba: the Mother, the 

Father, and the Holy Dove. St. Brigit's feast day was the first of 

February, the first day of spring according to the pagan calendar. It 
was called Oimelc, Imolg, or Imbulc, the day of union between God 
and Goddess. 11 

The same day was celebrated in Rome as the Lupercalia, sacred to 
Venus and to women generally. With unconscious irony, the church 
transformed it into the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, also called 
Candlemas, which kept much of its pagan symbolism and was 
regarded as a major festival of witches. 12 

Like other versions of the Celtic Goddess, Brigit was a teacher of 
the martial arts, and a patron of warfare or briga. Her soldiers were 
brigands, or as Christians called them, outlaws. 15 Robin Hood's merry 
men were outlaws of the same kind; so were Kali's Thugs and the 
"Assassins" who worshipped the Arabian Moon-goddess. 

Brigit was canonized more than once. Besides the Irish Brigit there 
was a St. Bridget of Sweden, foundress and supreme ruler of a double 
monastery of both sexes, the Order of Brigantines. (See Convent.) A 
branch of the ancient "colleges" of Brigit was a Brigantine House of 
Sion established in 1420 on the bank of the Thames, where it flourished 
until 1589 as a center of education for ladies of noble birth. 14 

I. Joyce 1,260-61. 2. Campbell, P.M., 432. 3. Briffault 3, 70. 4. Hitching, 213. 
5. Hawkins, 140. 6. J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 141. 7. Lindsay, O.A., 328. 

8. Graves, W.G., 144. 9. Gifford, 60. 10. Brewster, 140. 

II. Joyce 1,379, 507; 2, 388. 12. de Lys, 127. B.Tuchman, 252. 14. Brewster, 339. 


Old name for sulfur, derived from Brimo, a title of Athene, Hecate, 
and Demeter. 1 It meant "raging one," the Goddess's Destroyer aspect. 2 
The alchemical symbol for sulfur was the same as the symbol of 
Athene, a triangle surmounting a cross: female genital sign over the 
male, like the symbol of Venus. 3 

Even the raging Brimo appeared as the Virgin Mother, in feasts of 
purification at Eleusis, where the advent of the Divine Child was 
announced with a cry, "Holy Brimo has borne the Holy Child 
Brimus." 4 

Because of her magical ability to cleanse and purify, Brimo's stone 
was supposed to be proof against disease. Burning sulfur was used 
even in medieval times to fumigate sickrooms and avert the plague. The 
use of brimstone as an agent of purification accounts for its appear- 
ance in the cauldron of Purgatory with its "fire and brimstone" to burn 
away sins. 

Alchemists tried to "marry Hermes and Athene" by combining 
mercury with brimstone, which they thought might create gold. 
They never succeeded. 

1. Knight, S.L., 102. 2. Graves, G.M. 2, 384. 3. Koch, 54, 66. 4. Wilkins, 67. 


Brisingamen Brisingamen 

The Necklace of Freya; in Norse myth, the magic rainbow bridge to Broomstick 

paradise. In Greece, Iran, Mesopotamia, and the Far East, prominent m^h^h^hm^h 

features of the after-world were often called "ornaments" of the 
Goddess, whose physical being was all existence: underworld, earth, and 
heaven. Ishtar too wore the rainbow necklace, which the Persians 
converted into the razor-edged bridge to the Mount of Paradise. See 
Diakosmos; Ishtar; Rainbow. Odin stole Freya's necklace and 
hung it on his own image; but she retrieved it. 


"Sweet Virgin," a title of Rhea, the Great Goddess of Bronze Age 
Crete and the Aegean islands. 1 The same name was given to an early 
ruler of Gaul, who was probably a queen embodying the Goddess's 
spirit. 2 Olympian mythology said the mother of Britomartis was the 
Cretan virgin Carme, another form of Car, Car-Dia, Carmenta, 
Carna, etc. They were really different names for the same deity. The 
titles by which she was addressed in prayers and hymns were later mis- 
understood as the names of different deities, which is why the 
Goddess became "goddesses" in the west, or the Thousand-Named 
One in the east. 

1 . Larousse, 86. 2. Briffault 3, 400. 


The fairy wood in Brittany where Nimue, or Vivien, or Morgan 
enchanted Merlin into his magic sleep within a crystal cave or, some 
said, within the trunk of a venerable oak tree. This was one of the 
nimidae or moon-groves still used for worship of woodland deities up 
to the time of the Renaissance. 1 See Grove, Sacred. 

1. Joyce 1,359-60. 


Companion of Joseph of Arimathea, keeper of the Christianized 
version of the Holy Grail. Bron was really the Celtic god Bran, keeper 
of the Cauldron of Regeneration; a popular deity with numerous 
shrines, patron of "healing and resurrection." ' 

1. Graves, W.G., 39. 


Broomsticks were long associated with witches because they figured 
in pagan rituals of marriage and birth, the Mysteries of Women. In 
Rome the broom was a symbol of Hecate's priestess-midwife, who 


Broomstick swept the threshold of a house after each birth to remove evil spirits that 

might harm the child. 1 

^^^^^^^^^^^ As Hecate was also the Triple Goddess presiding over marriage, 

her broomstick signified sexual union. Old wedding customs included 
jumping over a broomstick, possibly to represent impregnation. Gypsy 
weddings always included the same ritual, though gypsies now say they 
don't know what it means. 2 Oddly enough, the same broom-jumping 
ritual marked the churchless weddings of black slaves in nineteenth- 
century America. 

Medieval peasant weddings in Europe were also churchless, as a 
rule, coming under the jurisdiction of common law rather than canon 
law, and using the rites of the old religions rather than the new. The 
broom was so closely identified with non-ecclesiastical marriages that 
by Renaissance times, when the church began to take over the nuptial 
rites, unions "by the broom" were declared illegitimate. English 
rustics still say "if a girl strides over a broom-handle, she will be a mother 
before she is a wife." A girl who gives birth to a bastard child is said to 
have "jumped over the besom." ? 

As a horse for witches to ride, the broomstick apparently signified 
Tantric-type sexual unions which were primary attractions of the 
female-oriented witch cults. Plants genet, the broom plant, was sacred 
to witches. This may explain why the ruling family of Anjou in the 
12th century was named Plantagenet. Henry II, first Plantagenet king of 
England, inherited his throne by matrilineal succession through his 
mother Matilda, or Maud names commonly associated with witch- 
craft the countess of Anjou. Genet also meant a horse or steed, the 
"royal horse" of paganism. This meaning is preserved in the word 
jennet, a small horse or the female donkey, and in the names fre- 
quently taken by witches: Jenet, Janet, Jeannette, Jean, or Joan. 

Such names suggested a witch-child born of a sacred marriage with 
a phallic god represented by the broom. A Janet or Jenny was a 
Daughter of the Horse, and old gods like Volos, Volsi, Waelsi, or Odin 
were called "Horse's Penis." 4 Riding the broomstick seems to have 
denoted the kind of sexual position viewed as a perversion by the 
church, woman above, man below acting as her "horse." This sexual 
implication is confirmed by the old witch-rhyme, "Ride a cock-horse to 
Banbury Cross (i.e., crossroads), to see a fine lady on a white horse." 
The fine lady was Godiva, "the Goddess." Her white cock-horse 
signifed her consort. 5 

Children rode the cock-horse as a broomstick with a horse's head, 
copied from Sufi mystics who entered Spain in the early Middle 
Ages. Besides their organization in groups of thirteen, like covens, and 
their worship of the Rabba or "Lord," later transformed into the 
witches' god Robin, Sufi sages rode horse-headed canes called zamal- 
zain, "gala limping horse." The dervish's stick-horse stood for the 
Pegasus-like fairy steed that carried him to heaven and back. 6 Such 
customs became prevalent among the Basques, who were frequently 
accused en masse of witchcraft. 


At times a witch's broomstick seems to have been nothing more 
than a dildo, anointed with the famous "flying ointment" and used 
lor genital stimulation. 7 French witches "flew" this way: "With an 
lintment which the Devil had delivered to them they anointed a 
Ivooden rod which was but small, and their palms and their whole hands 
likewise; and so, putting this small rod between their legs, straightway 
Ihey flew there where they wished to be . . . and the Devil guided 
Ihem." 8 Certainly churchmen were prone to describe any kind 
If masturbation as guided by the devil women's masturbation most 
larticularly so, for nothing was more abhorrent to the patriarchal 
Inind than the thought that women could experience sexual pleasure 
wathout men. 

Witches' ointments often incorporated such drugs as aconite, 
leadily absorbable in an oil-based liniment through skin or mucus 
Inembrane, producing symptoms like giddiness, confusion, lethargy, 
lingling sensations followed by numbness, and quite possibly the 
Illusion of flying. Thus Oldham wrote: 

So witches some enchanted wand bestride, 
And think they through the airy regions ride. 9 

Because of their ancient association with pagan midwives and 
jheir Christian counterparts the witches, broomsticks took on an accre- 
ion of similar superstitions. Witches' familiar spirits were said to be 
inable to cross running water; hence, it became "bad luck" to move a 
room across running water. It was also "bad luck" to burn a broom, 
ince it was certainly bad luck for the witch. 10 

1. Dumezil, 616. 2. Trigg, 86-87. 3. Spence, 148. 4. Turville-Petre, 201. 
5. Hazlitt, 25. 6. Shah, 210, 223. 7.Ewen,78. 8. de Givry, 70. 9. Hazlitt, 655. 


"he Greek word for brother was adelphos, "one from the same 
'omb," derived from the matrilineal family when only maternal parent- 
ood was recognized. English "brother" stemmed from Sanskrit 
hratr, "support." In pre-Vedic India it was the duty of a brother, not a 
usband, to help support a woman and her children. Husbands came 
nd went, but the matrilineal clan remained stable. As an old proverb of 
irab women said: "A husband can be found, a son can be born, but a 
rother cannot be replaced." ' 

A preference for brothers over husbands may be found in many 
re-patriarchal cultures. Pagan Slavic women considered "by my 
rother" their most binding oath. In pre-Christian Norway, rune stones 
n women's graves were raised by their brothers, not their husbands. 2 
indent systems of clan loyalty were similar to that of the Nairs, of 
horn it was said that no man knew his father, but "every man looks 
n his sister's children as his heirs. A man's mother manages his 




family; and after her death his eldest sister assumes the direction." 
Names and property were bequeathed in the female line. 3 

The uterine-sibling bond was so much stronger than the marriage 
bond in ancient societies that the ultimate endearment of lovers or 
spouses was to call each other "brother" and "sister." 4 King Solomon 
called his bride "my sister, my spouse" (Song of Solomon 4:10) with 
"sister" in the place of honor. An Egyptian wife affectionately addresse 
her husband as "brother, husband, friend," in that order. 5 

Weddings sometimes meant making bride and groom pseudo- 
siblings in some magical way. Polynesian couples were not 
considered truly married until their two mothers mingled their blood, 
signifying that the married pair were born of a double, or merged, 
womb. 6 Often, the bride and groom mingled their own blood; this was 
the common rite of gypsy weddings. 7 

Brother-sister incest was customary in ancient ruling families, 
when it was felt that a king and queen should be offspring of the same 
mother, so the true line of succession would not be weakened. Egyptiai 
pharaohs married their sisters as a matter of course because their 
thrones were inherited through the female line. 8 One pharaoh with onl 
one son and one daughter suggested to his wife that the children 
might marry outside the family. The queen angrily rejected the idea: 
"Dost thou wrangle with me? Even if I have no children after those 
two children, is it not the law to marry them one to the other?" 9 

Brother-sister incest was everywhere the practice of the elder gods 
and goddesses, many of whom were twins who copulated even in 
their mother's womb. Examples are Isis and Osiris, Artemis and Apollo 
Fauna and Faunus, Diana and Dianus, Zeus and Hera, Yama and 
Yami, Freya and Frey. According to Norse skalds, brother-sister incest 
was the accepted custom of the Vanir or elder deities. 10 

Mythological evidence tends to destroy the modern conception oi 
Stone Age man protecting "his" cave with "his" mate and "their" 
children. If the home was a cave or anything else, it was probably 
selected, furnished, and owned by the female. If there was a male 
protecting it, he was more likely to have been a sibling than a mate. In 
fact there were no monogamous families but only family groups, 
centering on the women and children with impregnating males a loose 
changeable periphery. 

1. Briffault 1, 405, 498, 505. 2. Oxenstiema, 212. 3. Hartley, 152. 4. Albright, 128. 
5. Hartley, 195. 6. Briffault 1, 559. 7. Trigg, 88. 8. Hooke, S.P., 256. 
9. Maspero, 121. 10. Turville-Petre, 172. 

var. Buanann 


"Good Mother," the Irish Goddess as a cow, recalling Hathor or 
Cow-Eyed Hera who was also the Irish Goddess Eriu (Eire). 1 Like all 
other versions of the milk-giving Mother she represented wealth or 
plenty. Thus, her name Ana came to be synonymous with abundance.' 

1. Graves, W.G., 414. 2. Joyce 1, 261. 


Buddhism Buddhism 

Established 500 years before Christianity and widely publicized 

throughout the Middle East, Buddhism exerted more influence on early ^m^bmi^^m 

Christianity than church fathers liked to admit, since they viewed 

Oriental religions in general as devil worship. 

Legends and sayings derived from Buddhism appear in the Gos- 
pels, disguised as "typically Christian" precepts, including the 
Golden Rule. The Amogha school of Buddhism practiced a severe 
morality, a life of poverty and chastity in retirement from secular 
concerns, and the expectation of a Savior coming to earth in the near 
future. 1 Buddhist sages provided prototypes of Christian miracles. 
They were said to walk on water, to speak in tongues, and to ascend to 
heaven in the flesh. 2 Jains regarded the true Buddhist "hero" (vira) as 
"not he who is of great physical strength and prowess, the great eater 
and drinker, or man of powerful sexual energy, but he who has 
controlled his senses, is a truth-seeker, ever engaged in worship, and 
who has sacrificed lust and all other passions." 3 

Buddha is more properly the Buddha, since Buddha was not a 
name but a title, the "Enlightened or Blessed One," comparable to 
Christos, "the Anointed One." Buddha had many other names because 
he had already lived through many incarnations on earth. Even the 
Buddha supposed to have appeared in the 5 th century B.C. had several 
names: Gautama, Sakyamuni, Siddhartha the last, again, not a 
name but a title, "Rich in Yogic Power." Buddha was miraculously 
begotten by the Lord of Hosts and born of the Virgin Maya, the 
same Great Goddess worshipped throughout Asia and having the 
alternative Near-Eastern names of Maia, Marah, Mari, or Maria. 4 

Many Buddhas who had already come and gone were bodhisattvas 
or saints, sometimes simply known as Buddhas. Any sage might 
become a bodhisattva through devotion to the holy life. But one true 
Buddha remained to come again to earth. He was Maitreya, the 
Master, or the Future Buddha, similar to the being known as Kalki, the 
last avatar of the god Vishnu who would appear with the approach of 
doomsday. The final coming of the Savior would signal the end of the 
present world. He would judge the righteous, and annihilate the 
wicked, and make everything ready for the ultimate creation of a new 
heaven and a new earth. 5 

These were basic ideas of Christianity as well as Buddhism: simple, 
easy to understand, dramatic, and appropriately aligned with arche- 
typal hopes and fears. The more subtle teachings of Buddhism, like 
those of Christianity, apparently developed out of group thinking of 
subsequent sectaries, especially the more ascetic sort. Yet again, as in 
Christianity the ascetics were unable to blot out the rich, colorful 
sensuality of "pagan" Hinduism. Although they claimed Buddha said 
the true sage must never see or speak to a woman, must avoid 
feminine creatures like the plague, yet within a few centuries the 
worship of the Goddess reasserted itself and all the bodhisattvas were 
provided with Shaktis who would welcome them to eternal sexual bliss 


Buddhism in heaven. "Tantric" Buddhism re-assimilated the feminine principle. 

Until the advent of Islam, the original Buddhist asceticism was largely 

^^^^^^^^^^^^ forgotten except for a few eremitic groups. A well-known aphorism 
said: Buddhatvam yosidyonisamsritam, "Buddhahood resides in the 
vulva (yoni)." 6 

Buddhist legends reveal the constant tension between ascetic and 
sensual elements. It was said Buddha wanted his brother Nanda to 
become a monk, but Nanda was too much in love with his beautiful 
mistress. So Buddha played a trick on him. He took Nanda to heaven 
and showed him the celestial nymphs, who were so desirable that Nanda 
instantly forgot the mortal woman he had loved. Buddha then told 
him these nymphs could be won only by a life of rigorous self-denial 
and meditation. Nanda agreed to join the monkish order. The ascetic 
life soon purged him of all desires, and he became as celibate as Buddha 
had wished but only because of his overwhelming lust for a tran- 
scendent sexual experience! 7 

Like their western counterparts in later centuries, Buddhist monks 
self-consciously threatened the Goddess with destruction, even 
though her virgin form had given birth to their Savior. A Buddhist 
hymn said, "This time I shall devour thee utterly, Mother Kali; for I 
was born under an evil star and one so born becomes, they say, the 
eater of his mother." 8 

Stories of the Buddha and his many incarnations circulated inces- 
santly throughout the ancient world, especially since Buddhist monks 
traveled to Egypt, Greece, and Asia Minor four centuries before Christ, 
to spread their doctrines. 9 Ascetics like the Essenes were certainly 
influenced by them. Christians continued to hear tales of Buddhist 
origin, and to relate them rather naively to their own beliefs. Buddha 
himself entered the Christian canon as a saint St. Josaphat, a corrup- 
tion of Bodhisat when John of Damascus wrote down his life story 
in the 8th century a.d. 10 Buddha the Christian saint was supplied with 
a companion called Barlaam, who converted the Indian prince to a 
Christian asceticism despite his royal father's efforts to thwart this 
purpose. 11 

Many scholars have pointed out that the basic tenets of Christian- 
ity were basic tenets of Buddhism first; but it is also true that the 
ceremonies and trappings of both religions were more similar than 
either has wanted to acknowledge. 

Buddhism has much in common with Roman Catholic Christianity, 
having its purgatory, its Goddess of Mercy, and its elaborate machinery 
for delivering the dead from pain and misery through the good offices of 
the priests. Among other similarities may be mentioned celibacy, 
fasting, use of candles and flowers on the altar, incense, holy water, 
rosaries, priestly garments, worship of relics, canonization of saints, use 
of a dead language for the liturgy and ceremonials generally. The trinity of 
Buddhas, past, present, and future, is compared by some to the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. The immaculate mother of Shakyamuni, whose 
name Maya is strikingly similar to that of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is 



also to be noticed, while Buddha's temptation on Vulture Peak by Mara 

the Evil One, may also be contrasted with the similar temptation of 

Our Lord. . . . The worship of ancestors is in some measure akin to the 

saying of masses for the dead, and at one time the Jesuits considered it a ^^^^^^"" 

harmless observance and tolerated it in their converts. Finally the Dalai 

Lama is a spiritual sovereign closely resembling the Pope. ' 2 

1. Avalon.211. 2. Tatz & Kent,. 167, 200; Waddell, 159. 

3. Muhnnirvmwtuntra, cxii. 4. Larousse, 348. 5. Lx'musse, 374. 

6. Campbell, Or. M., 302, 352. 7. Rawson, E.A., 184. 8 Wilson 257 

9. Campbell, CM., 146. 10. Muller, 313. 11. Attwater, 58. 12. Williams, 355. 


From "Bulgar," French Bougre. The modern meaning stemmed 
from the Roman church's charge that medieval Bulgarians practiced 
sexual perversions in their churches. Bulgarian Paulicians were 
anathematized for disobeying the Roman pope, setting up their own 
churches independent of Rome, and admitting women to clerical 
office on an equal basis with men. 1 

Bosnian Patarenes were also called buggers, since they modeled 
their national church on that of Bulgaria. About 1200 a.d. the papacy 
launched "a cruel war against the Bosnian Patarenes, which lasted two 
and a half centuries, and finally culminated in the acceptance, on 
their part, of the Mohammedan faith and in becoming Turks, rather 
than submit to the Roman See." 2 

Religious wars led the Balkans into social chaos. Heretics were 
hunted down like animals, and tortured. Lands belonging to the 
heretic magnates (nobles) were seized and handed over to their Catholic 
enemies. The heretics for their part continued to regard themselves 
as the only true Christian nations. Under the anti-Roman Code of 
Stephen, Catholic priests who tried to convert Balkan Christians back 
to "the Latin faith" were declared criminals. 3 Quarrels and conflicts 
persisted up to the present century. 

1. Knight, D.W.P., 176. 2. Spinka, 147. 3. Spinka, 167-68. 


The biblical title translated "God" is El, originally the title of the 
Phoenician bull-god called Father of Men. As the "supreme god of the 
Semitic pantheon, El was worshipped throughout Syria alongside the 
local gods, or Ba'als, one of his titles, indeed, being 'the Bull.' " ' Like 
Zeus the Bull, consort of Hera-Europa-Io the white Moon-Cow, El 
married Asherah, the Semitic sacred Cow. He was identified with Elias 
or Helios, the sun. He was still the Semitic Father of Men in the time 
of Jesus, who cried to him from the cross, calling him Father (Mark 

Nearly every god of the ancient world was incarnate sooner or later 
in a bull. The Cretan moon-king called Minos inhabited a succession of 
Minotaurs (moon-bulls), who were sacrificed as the king's surrogates. 


Bull Yama, the Hindu Lord of Death, wore a bull's head and became the 

underworld judge, like Minos. 2 Shiva was incarnate in the white bull 
^^^^^^^^^^^ Nandi. 3 The real reason King Nebuchadnezzar "ate grass" probably 
was that his soul temporarily entered into the body of the divine 
sacrificial bull (Daniel 4:33). Court prophets of the kings of Israel put 
on bull masks to represent the king while casting spells for his victory 
over his enemies (1 Kings 22:1 1). 4 

Bull worship was a large part of Mithraism. The bull's blood was 
credited with power to produce all creatures on earth without the aid of 
the cow, though her power was implicit in that the bull's blood was 
taken up and magically treated by the Moon. The bull was consecrated 
to Anahita, a Persian name of the Moon-goddess whom the Greeks 
called Artemis Tauropolos, "Bull-Slayer," of whom the bull-slaying 
savior Mithra was a late, masculinized form. 5 Like most patriarchal 
symbols, those of the Mithraic cult were copied from myths of the 
Asian Goddess. A statue of Kali in the Ellora caves shows her in the 
pose typical of Mithra, holding up the nose of the sacrificial bull and 
preparing to slaughter it. 6 

The bull was killed for a baptism of blood at the Roman Taurobo- 
lium in honor of Attis, Cybele, or Mithra. "A trench was dug over 
which was erected a platform of planks with perforations and gaps. 
Upon the platform the sacrificial bull was slaughtered, whose blood 
dripped through upon the initiate in the trench ... he turned round and 
held up his neck that the blood might trickle upon his lips, ears, eyes, 
and nostrils; he moistened his tongue with the blood, which he 
than drank as a sacramental act. Greeted by the spectators, he came 
forth from this bloody baptism believing that he was purified from his 
sins and 'born again for eternity.' " 7 The participant in the Taurobo- 
lium acted out literally what Christians called washing in the blood of 
the lamb. 

Egypt's savior Osiris was worshipped in bull form as Apis-Osiris, 
the Moon-bull of Egypt, annually slain in atonement for the sins of the 
realm. 8 In the ceremony of his rebirth, he appeared as the Golden Calf, 
Horus, born of Isis whose image was a golden cow. The same Golden 
Calf was adored by the Israelites under Aaron (Exodus 32:4). 

The Orphic god Dionysus also took the form of a bull; one of his 
earlier incarnations was the Cretan bull-god Zagreus, "the Goodly 
Bull," a son and reincarnation of Zeus, and another version of the 
Minotaur. The god was a bull on earth, and a serpent in his subterra- 
nean, regenerating phase. The Orphic formula ran: "The bull is the 
father of the serpent, and the serpent is the father of the bull." 9 
Dionysus was reincarnated over and over, and there were some who 
identified him with the Persian Messiah. In the Book of Enoch, 
the Messiah is represented as a white bull. 10 

Athenian legends of the Moerae or Fates compared all men to 
the sacrificial bull sentenced to death at the hands of Fate sooner or 
later. Medieval superstition called the Fate-goddess Mora, a nocturnal 
spirit who roams the world seizing men and crushing them until they 


"roar like bulls." She was also Christianized as St. Maura, on whose Buto 

sacred day women were forbidden to sew, lest they "cut the thread of Byelobog 

life" after the manner of the Moerae. 11 ^^^^-^_^^_^ 

In medieval England, Twelfth Night games featured remnants of 
bull worship. A large cake with a hole in the center was thrown over the 
bull's horn, to form a lingam-yoni. The bull was then tickled, "to make 
him toss his head." If he threw the cake behind him, it belonged to the 
mistress; if in front, it belonged to the bailiff. 12 This ceremony probably 
derived from an ancient custom of divination. Like all sacrificial victims 
already dedicated to the supernatural realm, the bull was believed to 
have prophetic powers. 

1. Larousse, 74. 2. Campbell, ML, 409. 3. Campbell, Or.M, 90. 
4. Hooke, S.P., 160. 5. Cumont, M.M., 20, 137. 6. Ross, 40. 7. Angus 94-95 
8. Budge, G.E. 2, 349. 9. Legge, 39. 10. Hooke, S.P., 138. 11. Lawson, 175. 
12. Hazlitt, 603. 


Greek name for the Egyptian serpent-goddess Per-Uatchet, also 
called Uraeus, Anqet, Iusaset, Mehen the Enveloper, etc. 1 With Nekh- 
bet the vulture-goddess, she co-ruled the Two Lands as the Nebti, 
the Two Mistresses. 2 Like the Two Ladies of the ancient Middle East, 
they were twin spirits of birth and death. See Serpent. 

1. Norman, 48; Budge, G.E. 2, 57. 2. Larousse, 29. 


Oldest, most famous seat of the Semitic Great Goddess, variously 
known as Mari, Astarte, Asherah, Ashtoreth, Ishtar, Isis, or Hathor. 
"Bibles" were named after her city because the earliest libraries were 
attached to her temple. (See Bible.) Kings of Byblos received their 
mandate from the Goddess before they could rule. King Yehawmilk 
for instance said she placed him and his predecessors on the throne. 
When invoked as Mistress, "she heard my voice and treated me 
kindly." The king begged her to bless him and prolong his years in 

Recently it has been found that earlier archeological scholars 
misread the words "Lady of Byblos" in Aramaic texts referring to the 
Goddess, and translated these words "Lord of Byblos" instead. 1 In 
reality there was never any god in Byblos whose power equalled that 
of the many-named Lady. 

l.Pritchard,A.N.E. 1,215,221. 


Slavic "White God," a heavenly deity opposed to the Black God, 
Chernobog. Both were variants of the ancient Persian adversaries in 
heaven and the underworld, who would engage in the final battle 
between forces of good and evil, at the end of the world. See 


Caryatids. Carved pillars 
from the Acropolis. 
Greek, 2nd century b.c. 

St. Catherine, by 
Lorenzetti. Sienese, 
about 1335 a.d. 

Bronze cat with one 

earring. Late 

Dynastic Egypt (ca. 2000 



var. Kabbalah 

Giovanni Pico della 

1494). Italian 
nobleman, philosopher 
and scholar, declared 
a heretic for his 
attempts to unite 
Christian theology with 
Cabalistic doctrine. 


Medieval Jewish mystical system obviously influenced by Tantrism 
and Sufism, like the Christian courtly-love movement of the same 
period. The Cabala's basic premise was that all the world's ills 
stemmed from God's loss of contact with his female counterpart, the 
Shekina, a Hebraic version of Shakti. God is fragmented, and only 
the Shekina has power to "put God back together." ' Universal harmo- 
ny must be restored by making God and his Goddess once more 
"one." 2 

Sexual union of mortals was thought to create its like on the plane 
of the divine. Therefore sexual intercourse was a sacramental act 
helpful to God and the Shekina. "The efflorescence of such beliefs into 
orgiastic rites suggests itself too readily not to be attempted, and in- 
deed, in the further development of Kabbalistic doctrine, such attempts 
were made." 5 Generally, however, the cabalist confined his erotic 
experiments to his legal wife. The first step in his ascent of the 
Sephiroth or Tree of Knowledge was the female sexual power, 
Shekina-Malkuth, Queen and Bride, represented by the moon and the 
spouse. 4 Further steps made use of elaborate systems of numerology, 
magic, and scriptural allegory, yielding successive revelations of the 
divine nature. 

The major cabalistic work was the Sefer ha-Zohar, "Book of 
Splendor," composed in the late 1 3th century by Moses de Leon of 
Guadalajara, who claimed its real author was the legendary 2nd-century 
mystic Simeon ben Yohai. He pretended to have the ancient original 
of the book in his possession, but it was never produced. Scholars have 
concluded that it never existed, and de Leon wrote the Sefer ha- 
Zohar himself. 5 

Despite its Jewish orientation, the Cabala exerted a strong appeal 
for contemporary Christian mystics. It has been much in the favor of 
occultists ever since. Pico della Mirandola even professed to find in the 
Cabala what the Jews themselves denied: the incarnation of full 
godhood in Jesus. He wrote: "No science offers greater assurance of 
Christ's divinity than magic and the Cabala." 6 See Hexagram; 

l.Lederer, 186. 2. Encyc. Brit, "Cabala." 3. Lederer, 188. 4. Cavendish, T., 52, 74. 
5. Encyc. Brit, "Cabala." 6. Shumaker, 16. 


Title of Demeter as the Goddess of the Cabirian Mysteries in Phrygia 
Samothrace, and other areas, second only to the Eleusinian Mysteries 
in importance. Her consort was the Young God, variously known as 
Dionysus, Ganymede, or Cabirius. In Thebes the Great Goddess 


was called Demeter Cabiria, sometimes a trinity of "three Cabirian Caduceus 

nymphs." Her sexual union with the god was represented by the Caillech 

same symbol as in India and Egypt: water poured from a male vessel ^^^^^^^^^-i 

into a female one. 1 (See Jar-bearer.) Because of its ancient erotic 
connotations, Cabiria became a common witch-name in medieval 

1. Neumann, G.M., 324-25. 


Some Gnostic Christians worshipped the serpent hung on a cross, 
rod, or Tree of Life, calling it Christ the Savior, also a title of Hermes 
the Wise Serpent represented by his own holy caduceus, the scepter 
of two serpents. This was one of the oldest and most revered holy 
symbols. "The usual mythological association of the serpent is not, as 
in the Bible, with corruption, but with physical and spiritual health, as in 
the Greek caduceus." To Sumerians it was an emblem of life, 
appearing on art works like the Libation Cup of Gudea, ca. 2000 b.c. In 
pre-Hellenic Greece the caduceus was displayed on healing temples 
like those of Asclepius, Hygeia, and Panacea, which is why it is still an 
international symbol of the medical profession. The caduceus is 
found also in Aztec sacred art, enthroned like a serpent-deity on an 
altar. North American Indians knew it too. A Navaho medicine man 
said his people's sacred cave once featured "a stone carving of two 
snakes intertwined, the heads facing east and west." ' 

Hindu symbolism equated the caduceus with the central spirit of 
the human body, the spinal column, with two mystic serpents twined 
around it like the genetic double helix: ida-nadiio the left, pingala-nadi 
to the right. 2 

Moses's brazen serpent on a pole, the mere sight of which cured 
the Israelites, was probably a prophylactic caduceus (Numbers 21:9). 
It was named Nehushtan, and worshipped in the tabernacle up to the 
reign of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4). See Hermes. 

1. Campbell, M. I., 282-84, 286-88, 294-95. 2. Bardo Thodol, 215. 


Old Celtic name for Kali-the-Crone, the Great Goddess in her 
Destroyer aspect. Like Kali, the Caillech was a black Mother who 
founded many races of people and outlived many husbands. She was 
also a creatress. She made the world, building mountain ranges of stones 
that dropped from her apron. 1 

Scotland was once called Caledonia: the land given by Kali, or 


Cain Cale, or the Caillech. "Scotland" came from Scotia, the same 

Goddess, known to Romans as a "dark Aphrodite"; to Celts as Scatha or 

^^^^^^^^^^^ m Scyth; and to Scandinavians as Skadi. 2 

Like the Hindus' destroying Kalika, the Caillech was known as a 
spirit of disease. One manifestation of her was a famous idol of carved 
and painted wood, kept by an old family in County Cork, and described 
as the Goddess of Smallpox. As diseased persons in India sacrificed to 
the appropriate incarnation of the Kalika, so in Ireland those afflicted by 
smallpox sacrificed sheep to this image. 3 It can hardly be doubted that 
Kalika and Caillech were the same word. 

According to various interpretations, caillech meant either an old 
woman, or a hag, or a nun, or a 'Veiled one." 4 This last apparently 
referred to the Goddess's most mysterious manifestation as the future, 
Fate, and Death ever veiled from the sight of men, since no man 
could know the manner of his own death. 

In medieval legend the Caillech became the Black Queen who 
ruled a western paradise in the Indies, where men were used in 
Amazonian fashion for breeding purposes only, then slain. Spaniards 
called her Califia, whose territory was rich in gold, silver, and gems. 
Spanish explorers later gave her name to their newly discovered paradise 
on the Pacific shore of North America, which is how the state of 
California came to be named after Kali. 

In the present century, Irish and Scottish descendants of the Celtic 
"creatress" still use the word caillech as a synonym for "old 
woman." 5 

l.Rees,41. 2. Graves, W. C, 131. 3. Squire, 413. 4. Joyce 1 , 3 1 6. 
5.Frazer,G. B.,467. 


"Smith," Mother Eve's firstborn, begotten by the serpent and not by 
Adam, according to rabbinical tradition. The Bible says Cain's murder 
of his brother Abel was caused by jealousy, after God accepted Abel's 
blood sacrifice but rejected Cain's offering of vegetable firstfruits. 
Fearing to depart from this precedent, the Jews offered blood 
sacrifices to Yahweh up to the early Christian era. 

The Bible story was a Hebraic repetition of the Persian myth of 
Ahriman and Ahura Mazda, who offered sacrifices to an elder deity, 
Vayu. Ahriman was declared a traitor and devil when his offering was 
refused. 1 Indo-Iranian priests used to pray the gods to accept their 
own sacrifices, and refuse those of other arya (men). 2 Ahriman was the 
ancestor of those other arya, since his original Hindu name was 
Aryaman, father of men. 

The myth of Cain was based on primitive sacrificial magic, as 
shown by certain internal inconsistencies. God placed a curse on 


Cain, at the same time protecting him with a mark of immunity. Hooke 
explains part of the ritual fertility sacrifice: 

The sacrificer is defiled by his act. ...It is this which explains why the 
slayer enjoys ritual protection . . . the most likely explanation of the 
mark is that it represents a tattoo mark or other indication that the fugitive 
belonged to a sacred class. We have evidence from Hebrew sources 
that the prophets bore such marks. . . . Tammuz, who bears the title of 
"the Shepherd, " dies, or is ritually slain, during the period of summer 
drought . . . and his official slayer was obliged to flee in order to remove 
the ceremonial guilt of the slaying from the community. 3 

Such comparisons are needed to solve the dilemma of those 
theologians who, through the centuries, have been helpless to explain 
God's apparent blunder in protecting Cain from nonexistent ene- 
mies, when there were as yet no people in the world but Cain and his 
parents. Actually, the sacred caste of Cainite smiths worshipped the 
Goddess and dedicated sacrifices of the Good Shepherd to her as the 
Earth, who "opened her mouth" for Abel's blood (Genesis 4:1 1). 
Cain's myth reflects the patriarchs' hostility toward this caste. 4 Eventual- 
ly, they drove all the smiths out of their country, and had to send their 
tools to the Philistines for repair because "there was no smith found 
throughout all the land of Israel" (1 Samuel 13:19). Before the ban 
on smithcraft, however, they had the famous Tubal-cain, "instructor of 
every artificer in brass and iron" (Genesis 4:22). The fraternity of 
smiths was of Midianite origin, and may have inflicted a certain leg 
injury upon initiates, which could have been the mark of Cain. The 
Hebrew word for Passover, Pesach, meant "to dance with a limp." 5 
The festival of Pesach was associated with the Midianites or Kenites 
(Cainites, "children of Cain"), who were famed as miners and smiths, 
and worshipped the Great Mother in the copper mines of Sinai. 

According to the Sinai tablets, Semitic metalworkers called their 
deity Elath-Yahu, a combination of Yahweh and El-Lat or Allatu, Lady 
of the Underworld; but she was also identified with celestial Hathor. 6 
The Cainites migrated from northern Syria, where their smith god 
formerly occupied the volcanic mountain Jebel-Al-Aqra, a seat of Baal 
in the Ras Shamra texts. 7 The Mosaic Yahweh was a volcano-god 
like this Midianite Baal, or like limping Hephaestus and Latin Vulcanus, 
gods represented by "a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by 
night" (Exodus 13:21-22). 

Exodus 2:16 says Moses was adopted by the Midianite smiths 
through his marriage to their priestess, one of the usual sacred 
number of seven sisters. Prominent in the clan were such artisans as 
Bezaleel, maker of the ark of the covenant, who was filled "with the 
spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all 
manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works, to work in 
gold, and in silver, and in brass" (Exodus 35:31-32). The word here 



Callisto translated "God"apparently meant the spirit of Elath-Yahu. But 

Candlemas Moses quarreled with his Midianite wife, apparently over his attempt to 

^^^^^^^^^^^ institute the Egyptian custom of circumcision (Exodus 4:25) and 
they were divorced (Exodus 18:2). Subsequently, smithcraft dis- 
appeared from Israel after a long-remembered feud that imputed the 
crime of fratricide to Moses's followers, though their priestly tradition 
was to lay it on Cain. The account in Exodus 32 shows that the 
victims were not shepherds, but Cainites: 

Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? 
let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves 
together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of 
Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate 
to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every 
man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of 
Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that 
day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28) 

In later ages, Cain became a demi-devil, in the view of religious 

authorities who failed to notice that the true brother-slayers were Moses's 

followers. Or, if they did notice, they regarded the killing of three 

thousand as less important than the killing of one. In folklore, Cain 

remained attached to the diabolized matriarchal tradition: he was the 

man in the moon. 8 A German tale said the man in the moon refused to 

keep God's sabbath, the Sun-day. Therefore he was sent to the moon, 

and a saint informed him: "As you value not Sunday on earth, yours 

shall be a perpetual Moon-day in heaven." 9 

l.Larousx, 323. 2. Dume/il.425. 3. Hooke.S.R, 69-71. 4. Hooke, M.E.M., 124. 
5. Graves, W.G., 358. 6. Graves, W.G., 368. 7. Gray, 108. 8. Briffault 2, 629. 
9. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 192. 


"Fairest One," a title of Artemis as totemic She-Bear and mother 
of Areas, the Little Bear. Calliste was an old name for Artemis's sacred 
island Thera (She-Beast). Hellenic writers said the Attic rites of 
Artemis involved young girls dressed as the She-bear, which gave rise to 
the myth of Callisto, a nymph who lost her virginity to Zeus and gave 
birth to the bear-child. They were placed in heaven as Ursa Major and 
Ursa Minor. 1 Of course the nymph was the virgin aspect of the 
Goddess herself. 

1. Graves, G.M. 1, 86; W.G, 185. 


Because it fell forty days after Christmas, Candlemas became the 
Festival of the Purification of the Virgin according to the Judeo- 
Christian rule that women must be "purified" forty days after 


childbirth, an event which the patriarchs claimed rendered a mother Cannibalism 

ritually unclean. The Bible specifies forty days of impurity following 

the birth of a son, and eighty days following the birth of a daughter, ^^^^^^^^^ 

since females were supposed to be twice as unclean as males 

(Leviticus 12:2-5). The Christian God also considered new mothers 

unclean, and would not allow a woman to enter a church until the 

proper time had elapsed after her delivery. Her ritual purification was 

known as "churching." 

The Council of Trullus once tried to abolish the festival of 
Candlemas, on the ground that in giving birth to Christ, the Virgin 
"suffered no pollution, and therefore needed no purification." 

But Candlemas was not originally a Christian festival. To Roman 
pagans, it was the day honoring Juno Februata as the virgin mother 
of Mars. Like the Lupercalia two weeks later, the day commemorated 
the Goddess who engendered the "fever" (febris) of love. 1 Christian 
authorities said the pagan people went about Rome with "candles 
burning in worship of this woman Februa." Pope Sergius renamed 
the holy day "to undo this foul use and custom, and turn it onto God's 
worship and our Lady's ... so that now this feast is solemnly hal- 
lowed through all Christendom." 2 Still, Candlemas was properly 
considered sacred to women and to the Goddess of Love. 5 Among 
Celtic pagans it was the Feast of Imbolg, which stood opposite the great 
festival of Lammas in the old sacred year. 

Omens were taken on Candlemas Day for the new growing 
season, especially its weather. Therefore animals were said to come 
out of hibernation to provide helpful predictions for the end of winter; 
which is why it is now Groundhog Day. An old rhyme said, "If 
Candlemas Day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight; If 
Candlemas Day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not 
come again." 4 

l.deVoragine, 151. 2. Hazlitt, 85-86. Lys, 127. 4. Hazlitt, 87. 


The most consistently observed taboo in civilized society is the taboo 
against eating human flesh, though there is no comparable taboo against 
killing, which is done regularly, sometimes in enormous volume, as in 
the case of war. 

Upon finding human sacrifice but not cannibalism among the 
Polynesians, Captain Cook called it a shocking waste of the human 
race, and wrote: "It were much to be wished, that this deluded people 
may learn to entertain the same horror of murdering their fellow- 
creatures ... as they now have of feeding, corporeally, on human flesh 
themselves." 1 Of course the good captain failed to notice that the 
same delusion dwelt among his own countrymen. Eventually the 



Methodius 9th-cen- 
tury Greek missionary 
to the Slavs, canon- 
ized soon after his death 
by the Greek church, 
and a thousand years 
later by the Roman. 

Christians taught the Polynesians not to murder their fellow-creatures 
any more, by the simple expedient of murdering large numbers of 
Polynesians until they gave up. 

Western morality has always allowed and encouraged mass killing, 
provided the dead never became meals for the living. It has been 
noted that the decline of human sacrifice and cannibalism in antiquity 
was not accompanied by a decline in human slaughter generally. On 
the contrary, the scale of warfare steadily increased with the growth of 
civilization, up to the point where the highly technical civilizations of 
today stand ready to exterminate an entire world. Moreover the highest 
casualty lists have been accumulated in precisely the same nations 
that call themselves Christian. 2 

Churches, declaring themselves officially opposed to killing, have 
always managed to justify it nonetheless, when it seemed expedient. 
Even more curious a contradiction may be found on the matter of 
cannibalism, which Christian authorities regarded with the utmost 
horror. Witches were accused of this crime more than any other, since it 
seemed dreadful enough to deserve the merciless punishment its 
alleged practitioners received. Yet at the very core of Christian faith lay 
the sacrament upon which salvation, redemption, eternal life and all 
the rest depended completely: a sacrament of cannibalism, not "sym- 
bolic" but according to its theological rationale, absolutely real. 

God-eating was a universal custom descended from the earliest 
beginnings of civilization, when it was usually a genuine cannibal 
feast. As the incarnate god, "the victim is not only slain, but the 
worshippers partake of the body and blood of the victim, so that his 
life passes into their life, and knits them to the deity in living 
communion." 3 

The object was to become flesh of the god's flesh by eating him, so 
as to share in the resurrection of the divine flesh. There is no use 
pretending that this "Christian" ceremony did not originate in ceremo- 
nies of real cannibalism as primitive sympathetic magic. All the 
mystery-religions of the early Christian era centered on a pseudo- 
cannibalistic sacrament believed to identify the worshipper with the 
worshipped. "That there was a firm belief in the earlier stages of 
religion, of such participation in the god by eating him in a sacramen- 
tal meal cannot be questioned. In the Thracian-Dionysiac Mysteries, 
e.g., the celebrants by such a meal obtain a share in the divine life of 
the god, and so are called by his name." 4 

The same idea underlay Christian sacraments as well as those of 
the other Mysteries. Cyril of Jerusalem talked of "partaking of the 
body and blood of Christ, that you may become con-corporate and con- 
sanguineous with Him; for thus we become Christophori, his body 
and his blood entering into our members." Methodius taught that 
"every believer must through participation in Christ be born a 
Christ. ... He was made man that we might be made God." The same 
sacrament in other religions, however, was a diabolic rite: "Evil spirits 


gain power by means of the food consecrated to them, and are 
introduced by your own hands into your own bodies; there they hide 
themselves for a long time and unite with the soul." 5 

True cannibalism was still overtly associated with Tibetan sacrifices 
up to the 7th century a.d., after which the sacred mystery play 
provided symbolic substitutes. A victim made of dough was torn apart, 
his "entrails" distributed and devoured. Sometimes, real flesh from 
the corpse of an executed criminal was inserted into the dough image. 
At the atonement festival, a bull-masked priest called the Holy King 
of Religion stabbed the sacrificial figure, cut off its limbs, opened the 
breast and extracted artificial lungs, heart, and intestines. The re- 
mains were scattered by animal-masked dancers, as the remains of Osiris 
and other savior-gods of antiquity were scattered over the earth. 6 

Such dancers recall the Sabeans (Shebans) of Ezekiel 24, called 
"women that shed blood," who dressed in golden crowns and brace- 
lets to make mourning for the dead, and "ate the bread of men." Similar 
funerary dancers were the Egyptian muu or "mothers," who wore 
vulture feathers to impersonate the Goddess Mut, or Nekhbet, eater of 
the dead. 

Recently in parts of France it was a custom to make a dough man 
of the last sheaves of the harvest to represent the human sacrifice. He 
was broken in pieces by the make (an old title of a clan mother) and 
given to the people to eat. Similarly in Mexico, after human sacrifices 
were discontinued, a flint-tipped dart was hurled into the breast of a 
dough man. This was known as "killing the god so that his body 
might be eaten." In a ceremony called torqualo, "God is eaten," the 
image was divided into small pieces and distributed among the 
people. 7 

This was an obvious survival of Aztec religious ideas. The victim 
impersonating the god received worship, healed the sick, and blessed 
the people, always attended by his keeper-apostles. Then he was killed 
and butchered in special houses called calpulli, which distributed him. 
Nursing mothers would smear their nipples with a victim's holy blood so 
even their infants could partake of it. 

The Greek omophagia was originally a cannibal orgy that even 
dispensed with cooking. Victims were torn apart with the teeth and 
bare hands of the participants and eaten raw. Greek classical writers 
preferred to forget the omophagia. They looked down on barbarian 
tribes for sexual promiscuity and cannibalizing their family members. 10 

What was the relationship between eating sacred kings and saviors 
and eating family members? The answers have been given by canni- 
bals themselves: women eat the flesh of dead men and bring them back 
to life as new children. Primitive people reasoned that, in order to be 
born again, one must get inside a woman's body. The simplest way to 
accomplish this was to be eaten by her. This was the original root of 
the world-wide doctrine of reincarnation: literally, re-clothing in flesh. 

Before discovery of the mechanism of conception, a dying man 


The original "barbe- 
cue" was a cannibal 
feast. The word 
came from barbricot, 
the grill of green 
boughs on which Carib 
Indians used to roast 
human flesh. 8 
Ancient writings often 
speak of the canni- 
balistic habits of elder 
races. The Norse el- 
der gods or giants were 
jotunn, from an 
Indo-European root 
word meaning "eat- 
ers." They were 
believed to eat men, 
like jack's giant who 
drank the blood of 
Englishmen and made 
bread of their bones. 9 


Cannibalism looked forward to rebirth from one of the tribal mothers who would 

convert his flesh and blood into a new baby. Thus the Massagetae 
_____ __________ considered being eaten by clan mothers the only honorable death. A 

man could become flesh of their flesh, and live again. 11 Resurrection 
was brought about by the mysterious magic of women who, like the 
earth, gave life over and over. 

Australian native women have been known to eat their infants who 
die, then to paint the bones red and hang them about their bodies: 
crude magic aimed at returning the child to the matrix and re-coating its 
bones with life-giving maternal blood. Women of the Bibinga tribe 
stated quite plainly that they ate the dead to give them reincarnation. 12 
In New Guinea, a newborn child would receive the soul-name of a 
man who was killed and his flesh given to the mother to eat. 13 

In 1852, Dr. Hubsch wrote of the African tribe called Niam- 
Niam: "As soon as one of the tribe dies, his relations, instead of 
burying him, cut him up and regale themselves upon his remains; 
consequently there are no cemeteries in this land." H Baganda 
tribesmen said their women sometimes became so hungry that they bit 
off their babies' ears probably a euphemistic way of saying they ate 
the whole baby, confident of their ability to give it another birth. 15 

The notion that pregnancy is the result of eating is still widespread 
among savages. Words for consuming and conceiving are often the 
same. There was an ancient Babylonian proverb: "Who grows pregnant 
without having conceived? Who grows fat without having eaten?" 16 
According to Horace, the real primal scene was not the sexual drama 
postulated by Freud, but "A child, by a fell witch devoured, dragged 
from her entrails, and to life restored." 17 The Bible's term for birth is 
"coming forth from the bowels" (Genesis 1 5:4), for, like children, the 
ancients were not altogether certain of the distinction between repro- 
ductive and digestive systems. The Sanhedrin said a woman may 
conceive by drinking or bathing in water used to wash a corpse, an 
obvious survival of the primitive idea of a dead soul entering a new 
mother. 18 

The Chinese in the Shang period thought birth and rebirth were 
the same thing. The pictogram kuei, meaning both "soul" and 
"rebirth," was a fetus. 19 

The Yanomamo say they used to practice cannibalism, because 
their mother goddess Mamokoriyoma allowed them to eat dead 
parents and children. But they ceased to worship her, and declared 
cannibalism a sin. Cremation of the dead was instituted. Yet they still 
eat the ashes of the dead, mixed with food. Sharing the ashes of 
important ancestors is a sacred ceremony thought to strengthen 
kinship bonds. 20 

In southeastern Africa, when a woman marries into another 
kinship group, she must eat kernels of grain raised on the skull of a 
dead ancestor. When she gives birth, elders watch for signs of similarity 
between the deceased and the new baby. Kernels of grain were 
similarly grown on the mummy of Osiris and the body of Adonis, who 


was born in Bethlehem, the "House of Bread." The grain was eaten 
in solemn communion by the god's worshippers, who took it to mean 
they were like him, and would be reborn like him. Hawaiians had a 
god like Osiris, who was dismembered and buried in many earth- 
wombs. Foodstuffs grew from the parts of his body. 21 

Nearly all religions incorporate hidden hints of cannibalism. Apart 
from the sacrament of god-devouring that Christianity shared with 
paganism, the primitive church was accused of real cannibalism. Ro- 
mans claimed the Christians sacrificed and ate children, and dipped 
their host in children's blood. Orthodox authorities didn't deny these 
charges, but insisted only the Gnostic sects were to blame. Justin 
Martyr said the Marcionites practiced incest and cannibalism. Eusebius 
of Caesarea said the Carpocratians did it. Epiphanius said the 
Montanists and Ophites did it. Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and 
the 5th-century Presbyter Salvian all blamed heretic Christians for 
holding anthropophagus rites that brought disgrace on the church. 22 

Despite powerful taboos, cannibalism was not unknown in medi- 
eval Europe. In periods of famine or plague, when many starved to 
death in the streets of European towns, bodies sometimes simply 
disappeared. In 1435 the Sawney Beane family of Galloway was 
accused of having lived on a diet of human flesh for generations; but 
they were tortured to death by the court at Edinburgh, which may 
render their confessions suspect. 23 In 1661, four Scottish "witches" 
were tortured into confessing that they ate an unbaptized child dug up 
from the Forfar churchyard. 24 This seems improbable, since the 
unbaptized were not buried in churchyards. Next to witches, those 
most frequently accused of cannibalism were the Jews. See Jews, 
Persecution of. 

1. Campbell, M.I., 446-47. 2. M. Harris, 121. 3. Elworthy, 1 12. 4. Angus, 129. 

5. Angus, 107, 132. 6. Waddell, 518, 527, 531. 7. Elworthy, 1 1 1 . 

8. Frazer, G.B., 680; M. Harris, 102-3, 108, 1 18. 9. Branston, 101. 

10. Thomson, 64, 145. 11. Herodotus, 83-84. 12. Summers, V, 263-64. 

B.Tannahill, 15-16. 14. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 158. 15. Briffault, 2,460. 

16. Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 448. 17. Summers, V, 227. 18. Gaster, 521. 

19. Brandon, 98. 20. Chagnon, 46, 5 1 . 21. Campbell, P.M., 127, 200. 

22. J.B. Russell, 89-92. 23. Summers, V, 61. 24. Tannahill, 101. 

Canopic Jar 

Canopic Jar 

Egyptian tomb vessel for holding the entrails of a mummy. From the 
city of Canopis, "Eye of the Dog," Greek name for the star of Anubis, 
which Egyptians called Sothis (Sirius), the "eye" of the constellation 
Canis Major, the Great Dog. This star was supposed to hold the inward 
parts of the god Osiris in his "mummy" phase as Lord of Death. See 


The Goddess Car, or Kore, or Ker, or Q're, or Cerdo; one of the 
most widespread name-cycles of the Indo-European Goddess. Her 

var. Car-Dia, 
Cardea, Carmenta, 
Carna, etc. 


Carpet, Magic sacred city in Sardinia was Caralis, the modern Cagliari. 1 Her sacred 

Cassandra city in the Chersonese was Cardia, "the Goddess Car." Gaulish tribes 

^^^^^^^^^^^ called the Carnutes traced their descent from her; Chartres was 

named after her. As Carna and Carmenta she became the Etruscan- 
Roman mother of "carnivals," of "charms," and of alphabetical 

In the time of Alexander the Great, the land of Persia was known 
as Carmania, "Car the Moon." 2 Irish legend said from that land three 
powerful magicians came to Erin along with their mother Carman, 
evidently an idol of the Goddess. The magicians were later driven 
out, but they left their "mother" behind them. 3 

1. Massa, 43. 2. B. Butler, 137. 3. Spence, 150. 

Carpet, Magic 

Eastern tales of the magic flying carpet evolved from shamanic 
initiations in which the adept learned to "fly" via the spirit-journey. 
Novices undergoing initiation in central Asia were carried on a felt 
carpet by four priests called "sons" of the chief shaman, comparable to 
the four Sons of Horus carrying the dead man in ancient Egypt. 1 
Flying to heaven in trance on the carpet was an integral part of death- 
and-resurrection ceremonies necessary to the would-be shaman's 

l.Eliade,S., 119. 


Carved temple pillar representing a woman; in Greek tradition, a 
priestess of Artemis Caryatis, modeled on the moon-priestesses of 
Caryae. Matriarchal temples' seven high priestesses were known as 
the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The Bible says the Goddess of Wisdom 
has "builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars" 
(Proverbs 9:1). As early as the 3rd millenium B.C., Moabite temples of 
the Goddess were provided with seven menhirs. 1 Each pillar appar- 
ently became a soul-image of one of the Seven Mothers, the original 
"pillars of the church." See Pleiades. 



Trojan prophetess called Daughter of Hecate, that is, of Queen 
Hecuba, who embodied the Trojan Goddess. After the fall of Troy, 
Cassandra was taken prisoner by King Agamemnon, on whom she 
laid her curse. Classical myth said she "prophesied" his doom, which 
meant she not only foresaw it but actually invoked it on him with her 
magic words. Soon after, Agamemnon was slain by his wife Clytemnes- 


tra and her new lover. The ritualistic manner of his death showed that 
it was not a simple murder but a replacement of sacred kings according 
to the ancient law of queen's right. See Furies; Kingship. 



Inventors of the caste system were Indo-European patrilineal tribes 
whose early migrations destroyed many centers of Neolithic matriarchy; 
yet they had to attribute their social hierarchy to the authority of 
Mother Earth, the Goddess of final authority. Their eastern offshoots, 
calling themselves Aryans, conquered northwestern India and 
brought a Dark Age to a formerly flourishing civilization, about the 
middle of the 2nd millenium B.C. Like the priests of western Europe 
in a later Dark Age, the Aryan priests devised the caste system to 
relegate native peoples to a lower status, and to preserve this order 
with a claim of divine ordinance. 

This doctrine taught that all those born into low rank were living 
out a necessary punishment for sin in a previous existence, even 
though they may not remember it. Their duty was to accept their lot 
without complaint, work hard, and obey their superiors, so as to win a 
promotion in the next life. It was perhaps the most effective method of 
preserving a hierarchy that human ingenuity has ever produced. 1 

Under the rule of the warlike Aryan Aesir, who conquered 
Scandinavia's earlier matriarchal tribes, "the castes and professions 
are regarded as reflections in the human sphere of the laws of the 
natural order." 2 The father of Teutonic castes was Rig-Heimdall, 
"King of the Sea-Home." Their mother was the Triple Goddess Earth 
in all three of her forms. 

Rig-Heimdall lay with Edda the Great-Grandmother, oldest of 
Goddesses, and begot a son named Thrall, "Slave." Then he lay with 
Amma, the Grandmother, and begot a son named Karl, "Freeman." 
They he lay with Modir, the Mother, and begot a son named Jarl, 
"Earl, prince." These three were ancestors of the castes. 

The same Rig-Heimdall was named Ram, the phallus. He was 
sacrificed as a Horned God. Like Scyld, Arthur, and other pagan 
heroes he was born of the ninth wave of the sea. His Magic Song said 
he was born of nine maidens, daughters of the Elder Race, another 
multiplication of the same Triple Goddess, everywhere the Mother- 
Bride. The Nine made him strong with the sea's cold strength and 
with sacrificial blood. 3 

Rig-Heimdall resembled the Vedic fire god Agni, Son of the 
Waters, who returned to the waters at his death. Some say Agni is 
periodically reincarnated in the Dalai Lama, another "Son of the Sea." 
The Rig Veda said of Agni, "He with clear flames unfed with wood, 
shines in the waters." 4 This was not marine luminescence, but an 
allegory of the ancient idea that blood was sea water infused with fire, 
the element of living heat (see Elements). As the god in dying fertilized 
Mother Earth with blood, so fire dying in water turned the cold brine 


Castration into warm red blood of life. This was the primitive theory behind the 

"mating of fire and water" in both Norse and Vedic myth. 

hp^ B^BH Apart from the castes in both eastern and western Aryan societies 

were the outcastes: India's Untouchables, or pariahs. Their duties 
were "carrying water and chopping firewood." Their virtue consisted of 
accepting these chores and attending to them faithfully. 5 It is no coincid- 
ence, but a tradition of genuine Indo-European origin, that the Bible 
speaks of outcasts who could not be touched, but were allowed to live 
as "hewers of wood and drawers of water" (Joshua 9:21). Yahweh's 
scribes pretended the idea came from their ancestors, but obviously 
it was borrowed from Far-Eastern concepts of the caste system. 

1. de Camp, A.E., 294. 2. Campbell, Or.M, 416-17. 3. Turville-Petre, 147, 150-53. 
4. Branston, 140. 5. Campbell, Or.M., 459. 


All mythologies suggest that, before men understood their reproduc- 
tive role, they tried to "make women" of themselves in the hope of 
achieving womanlike fertility. Methods included couvade or imitation 
childbirth; mock death and rebirth through artificial male mothers; 
ceremonial use of red substances to imitate menstrual blood; and 
transvestism. Another method was ceremonial castration. Its primitive 
object was to turn a male body into a female one, replacing dangling 
genitals with a bleeding hole. (See Birth-giving, Male.) 

Many gods became pseudo-mothers by this means. Egypt's solar 
god Ra castrated himself to bring forth a race called the Ammiu out 
of his blood. 1 The phallus of the Hindu "Great God," Mahadeva, was 
removed and chopped to pieces by priestesses of the Goddess. The 
pieces entered the earth and gave birth to a new race of men, the 
Lingajas (Men of the lingam, or phallus). 2 In a Chukchi variant, the 
Great God Raven acquired feminine secrets of magic for men by 
pounding his own penis to a pudding and feeding it to the Goddess 
Miti (Mother). 3 In Mexico, the savior Quetzalcoatl made new humans 
to repopulate the earth after the Flood by cutting his penis and giving 
blood to the Lady of the Serpent Skirt the Goddess with many shorn 
phalli dangling about her waist, a figure also known in the Middle 
East, e.g. as Anath. 4 

Several forms of the Heavenly Father became creators by a rite of 
castration. The god Bel cut his "head" (of the penis) and mixed his 
blood with clay to make men and animals, copying the magic of Mother 
Ninhursag. 5 Shamin, the Phoenicians' Father Heaven, was castrated 
by his son El and made the world's rivers from his blood, imitating the 
Goddess's menstrual magic. Arabs called this god Shams-on, the sun. 
The Bible called him Samson, whose blindness and hair-cutting were 
both mythic metaphors of castration. 

Shearing the sun god's "hair" (rays) meant emasculating him. His 
severed penis represented the son/supplanter; and a penis was often 
called "the little blind one," or "the one-eyed god." Greeks' personifica- 


tion of the phallus, Priapus, was the son of Aphrodite and her 
castrated consort Adonis. Their Roman counterparts Vesta and Vulcan 
produced a phallic god Caeculus, "the little blind one." 6 

Uranus, "Father Heaven," was castrated by his son Cronus. 
Uranus's severed genitals entered the sea-womb and fertilized it to 
produce a new incarnation of the Virgin Aphrodite Urania, "Celestial 
Aphrodite." It was she who ruled the earlier cults of castrated gods, 
such as Anchises and Adonis. She was the same as the Canaanites' Lady 
of the Serpent Skirt: her priests castrated gods in her honor. 

So did the priests of Aphrodite's Nordic counterpart, Freya-Skadi. 
The Nordic Father Heaven was Odin, whose twelfth holy name was 
Jalkr, "Eunuch." 7 As a castrated god, Odin was the son-phallus of an 
older Eunuch personifying both father and son; for Odin was also the 
One-Eyed God, or Volsi, a "stallion penis." 8 (See Horse.) Like the 
stallion of the Vedic horse sacrifice, he was castrated. A late myth tried 
to account for Odin's crude phallic title by saying he could not drink 
of the cosmic feminine fountain of wisdom until he had given up one of 
his eyes. 9 Here one might recall the alternating seasonal castrations 
of Set and Horus in Egypt, their severed phalli mythologically described 


as "eyes.' 10 

Biblical writers called the penis a "sinew that shrank," lying "upon 
the hollow of the thigh." This was the sinew that Jacob lost in his 
duel with "a man who was a god." Jacob, "the Supplanter," was 
another name for Seth, or Set, who was likewise symbolized by the 
Ladder of Souls and likewise engaged in a contest with his rival, ending 
in his castration. 11 When Set was castrated, his blood was spread over 
the fields in the annual ceremony of sowing so as to fertilize the crops. 12 

The Book of Genesis confuses the two aspects of the god-king, 
who as Jacob won his battle with the incumbent king and supplanted 
him, then as Israel lost his battle with the next supplanter, and was 
castrated. Is-Ra-El may have been a corruption of Isis-Ra-El, the god 
enthroned as the consort of his goddess, awaiting the next challenger. 13 
The syllable El meant his deification. 

The garbled story of Jacob and the god-man was inserted chiefly to 
support the Jews' taboo on eating a penis (Genesis 32:32), formerly a 
habit of sacred kings upon their accession to the throne. The genitals of 
the defeated antagonist were eaten by the victor, to pass the phallic 
spirit from one "god" to the next. A king's virtu, "manliness," or heill, 
"holiness," dwelt in his genitals because that was his point of contact 
with the Goddess-queen. Innumerable myths of father-castrating, moth- 
er-marrying god-kings arose, not so much from inner Oedipal 
jealousies as from actual customs of royal succession in antiquity. See 
Kingship; Oedipus. 

The Greek King Aegeus died at the very moment when his "son," 
Theseus, arrived from Crete to claim his throne. The key to this 
myth is that Aegeus was "rendered sterile" by a curse, the same ritual 
curse laid on all kings of outworn usefulness, followed very shortly 
by castration and death. 14 


Castration In the sacred dramas of Canaan, the reed scepter of the dying god 

Mot was broken, to signify his castration. 15 His name, meaning "steril- 
^^ mmmm ^^^^^ ity" or "death," was a title of the fertility god Aleyin (Baal) as he 

entered his declining phase, when his rival assumed the sacred throne, 
and he became Lord of Death. 16 The custom of eating the defeated 
king's genitals appears in a number of Middle-Eastern myths, e.g., that 
of the Hittite god Kumarbi, one of a line of father-castrating kings of 
heaven. 17 Kumarbi's assumption of the fertility-spirit was expressed 
by the story that he "became pregnant." 

Mythic fathers and sons demonstrated remarkable hostility toward 
each other's genitals. Scholars tend to regard this as an expression of 
Oedipal aggressions, originating in the jealousy of elder males toward 
younger, more virile ones. Though men eventually gave up the 
hopeless idea of making one of their number pregnant by redesigning 
his body in a feminine style, customs of castration and crypto- 
castration persisted because they offered an outlet for this male jealousy. 

Among savages, men's puberty ceremonies generally provided an 
excuse for elder men's attacks on the bodies of youths. Modified 
castrations may be inflicted in the form of circumcision, subincision, and 
other genital wounds; also a variety of torments such as scarifying 
flesh, knocking out teeth, beatings, torture, and homosexual rape. 18 
"The dramatized anger of both the father and the circumciser and the 
myths of the original initiation in which all the boys were killed, 
certainly show the Oedipal aggression of the elder generation as the 
basic drive behind initiation." 19 

The more patriarchal the society, the more brutal its attacks on 
male youth, as a general rule. Notable for brutality was the Moslems' Es- 
selkh or scarification ceremony, a complete flaying of skin from a 
boy's scrotum, penis, and groin. After enduring this, the victim was 
further tormented by application of salt and hot sand, and buried up 
to the waist in a dunghill, making subsequent infection almost inevita- 
ble. Burton commented, "This ordeal was sometimes fatal." 20 
Legman pointed out that both Islam and Judaism "share in the surgical 
intimidation of the son by the father, just at the threshold of puberty, 
either in the psychological castration of circumcision at puberty (Mo- 
hammedanism), or this same operation effected at the earlier age of 
eight days (Judaism), or in a reminiscence of this operation." 21 

Subincision provides an example of transition from a female- 
imitative rationale to a male sado-masochistic ritual. As practiced by 
the Arunta, it began with a long sliver of bone inserted into the urethra. 
The youth's penis was then sawed open with a sharp flint, down to 
the level of the bone. Blood flowing from the wound was directed onto 
a sacred fire, like the menstrual blood of girls at menarche. The 
operation was termed "man's menstruation." 22 The wound was called a 
"vagina." 23 

The obvious purpose of this unpleasantness was to transform a 
male into a pseudo-female. The mutilated youth was even obliged to 
urinate by squatting, like a woman. Sometimes, men renewed the 


damage several times over, repeating the litany: "We are not separat- Castration 

ed from the mother; for we two are one."' 24 Natives said the custom 

was begun by an ancestral spirit, Mulkari or Mu-Kari, perhaps a _^^__^^^ 

corrupt form of Mother Kali (Ma-Kali), who was known as Kari in ^""^^^^ 

Malaysia. 25 

Far from supporting the Freudian doctrine of penis envy, primitive 
customs seem to suggest vulva envy as the original motive behind 
ritual castrations. It might be found even in civilized society. Bettelheim 
remarked on the desire of some young men to be circumcised, or 
otherwise subjected to bloodletting, when their girl friends were starting 
to menstruate. 26 Circumcision was surely a modified form of earlier, 
female-imitative castrations. 

The institution of circumcision was attributed to the same gods, 
such as El, who castrated their fathers. Its object was to feminize. In 
India, boys were dressed as girls, nose ring and all, on the eve of the cir- 
cumcision ceremony. In ancient Egypt also, boys on their way to 
circumcision wore girls' clothing, and were followed by a woman 
sprinkling salt, a common Egyptian symbol of life-giving menstrual 
blood. 27 

Circumcision took place at the age of thirteen, the number of 
months in a year according to ancient menstrual calendars, and the 
traditional age of menarche. After copying circumcision from the 
Egyptians, Jews transferred it to the period of infancy, leaving the 
pubertal ceremony, now called bar mitzvah, awkwardly placed at a point 
in a boy's life when nothing really happens, in contrast to the sudden 
onset of menarche in a girl. 

Infant circumcision was attributed to Moses, who insisted on it 
against the will of his Midianite wife Zipporah, who apparently 
objected to mutilation of her infant. After performing the operation, she 
flung the foreskin at Moses's feet, calling him a bloody husband 
(Exodus 4:25). 

Other biblical passages show that foreskins were considered appro- 
priate offerings to Yahweh. David bought his wife Michal from 
Yahweh's representative the king, with 200 Philistine foreskins (1 
Samuel 18:27). Other Heavenly Fathers made similar demands for 
genital gifts. Male animals sacrificed to Rome's Heavenly Father Jupiter 
were gelded. 28 The bull representing the castrated savior Attis was 
also castrated. 29 His blood conferred spiritual rebirth on those who 
bathed in it, like the blood of the Christian "Lamb," as if it were the 
secret blood of the womb, the real source of life according to the oldest 
beliefs. 30 

Castration as a means of acquiring feminine powers was still evi- 
dent among priesthoods of the Great Mother, along with other 
female-imitative devices such as transvestism. Self-emasculated priests in 
female clothing served the Indian Goddess under her name of 
Hudigamma. 31 Similar eunuch priests tended Middle-Eastern temples 
like those of the Dea Syria at Hierapolis, Artemis-Diana in Anatolia, 
and the Magna Mater in Phrygia and Rome. 32 The famous seer of 


Castration Thebes, Teiresias, got his powers of second sight and prophecy by 

becoming a woman, possibly by castration, and living as a temple harlot 
^^^^^^^^^^^ m for seven years. 

Perhaps the best-known self-emasculators in the ancient world 
were priests of Attis and Cybele, the Great Mother. As Attis was 
castrated and poured out his lifeblood to fructify her, so his priests in 
imitation of his sacrifice cut off their genitals and gave them to the 
Goddess's image. 53 Sometimes, the men's severed members were 
thrown into houses, as a special blessing. In return, householders gave 
the new eunuchs feminine garments to wear. Sometimes, the severed 
genitalia were carried in baskets or cistae to the Mother's innermost 
shrine, where they were anointed, even gilded, and solemnly buried in 
the Bridal Chamber. 34 The phallus of the god himself was carried 
into the sacred cavern in the form of a large pine log, which was also, 
like the phallic cross of Middle-Eastern saviors, the instrument on 
which he died. 35 His priests, having copied his self-sacrifice, were 
distinguished by the androgynous title bestowed on the earliest forms 
of Shiva; they were "lords who were half woman." 36 

Tertullian admitted that the "divine mysteries" of Christianity 
were virtually the same as the "devilish mysteries" of pagan saviors 
like Attis. 37 Popularity of Attis's cult in Rome led to Christian adoption 
of some of the older god's ways. One of the best-kept secrets of early 
Christianity was its preaching of castration for the special inner circle of 
initiates, who won extra grace with this demonstration of chastity. 
They taught, following the Wisdom of Solomon, "Blessed is the 
eunuch, which with his hands hath wrought no iniquity." 38 Jesus 
himself advocated castration: "There be eunuchs, which have made 
themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able 
to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19:12). 

Several early fathers of the church did receive it. Origen was highly 
praised for having castrated himself. 39 Justin's Apologia said proudly 
that Roman surgeons were besieged by faithful Christian men request- 
ing the operation. Tertullian declared, "The kingdom of heaven is 
thrown open to eunuchs." 40 Justin advised that Christian boys be 
emasculated before puberty, so their virtue was permanently protect- 
ed. 41 Three Christians who tried to burn Diocletian's palace were 
described as eunuchs. 42 

Throughout the middle ages, cathedral choirs included castrati, 
emasculated before puberty to preserve their virtue and their soprano 
voices, which were considered more pleasing to God than the "impure" 
female soprano. Women were not allowed to sing in church choirs, 

Castration was advocated also for monks who could not fend off 
the demons of sexual desire. It was forcibly imposed on the monk 
Abelard, whose love affair with his pupil Heloise caused a scandal in the 
church. But there were others who seem to have accepted surgical 
chastity on a voluntary basis. Such men assumed the title of Hesychasti, 
"permanently chaste ones," or "those who are at peace." The title 


was associated particularly with the monks of Mount Athos, so carefully 
ascetic that even to the present day no female creature is allowed on 
the holy mountain hens, cows, sows, nanny goats, and women all 
equally forbidden. 43 

It is likely that Mount Athos was named after Attis, and may have 
been a shrine served by his eunuch priests in pre-Christian times, 
situated close to his Phrygian home. There was a Magna Mater figure 
connected with Mount Athos up to the early 14th century. The 
monks were labeled heretics for being too deeply involved with the 
teachings of a certain so-called nun named Irene "Peace," the 
third persona of Triple Aphrodite embodied in her priestess-Horae. 
Irene, as Crone, would have been the priestess of castrations hinted 
in the myths of such lovers of the Goddess as Anchises and Adonis. 44 
When the church purged Mount Athos of the influence of Irene, the 
abbot Lazarus was expelled. With a companion named Barefooted 
Cyril, Lazarus wandered through Bulgaria preaching the redeeming 
virtues of nakedness and self-emasculation. 45 

It seems the cult of Attis and Cybele continued to influence 
Christianity in the Balkans for many centuries. Balkan monastic 
communities were organized in groups of fifty, like older "colleges" of 
the Great Mother's castrated priests. In Thrace, the Great Mother 
had the name of Cottyto, mother of the hundred-handed giant Cottus, 
an allegorical figure representing her fifty spiritual sons with two 
hands each. 46 Her worship persisted underground, long enough for the 
church to define it as witchcraft, and to label Cottyto a demon. In 
1619 a booklet published in Paris suggested the same Balkan tradition of 
the priest who dedicated himself to God in a manner that was then 
considered heretical: "the devil cut off his privy parts." 47 

Ritual castration was again revived by 1 8th-century Russian secta- 
ries calling themselves Skoptsi, "castrated ones." 48 They also called 
themselves People of God, insisting that removal of their genitals 
brought them profound spiritual powers. Russia's "mad monk" 
Rasputin was a member of this sect. 49 Since Rasputin was famed for his 
affairs with women, few of his contemporaries would Jiave believed 
him a eunuch; but they had forgotten what eastern harem-keepers knew 
well enough: that eunuchs are quite capable of providing women 
with sexual pleasure. Rasputin's hold over his female devotees was in 
any case a curious combination of spiritual and sensual obsession. 

l.Budge,G.E.2,89,100. 2. G.R.Scott, 192-93. 3.Hays,412. 4. Campbell, M.I., 156. 

5. Lindsay, O.A., 106. 6.Dumezil,325. 7. Branston, 50. 8.Turville-Petre,201. 

9. Urousse, 257. 10. Norman, 42. 1 1. Graves, W.G., 355. 12. Budge, G.E. 2, 59. 

13. Budge, G.E. 1,341-42. 14. Campbell, CM., 305. 15. Urousse,78. 

16.Hooke,M.E.M.,107. 1 7. Graves, G.M. 1,39. 18. Hays, 524. 19. Campbell, P.M., 98. 

20. Edwardes, 97. 21. Legman, 416. 22. Brasch, 55. 23. Montagu, S.M.S., 243. 

24. Campbell, P.M., 103. 25. Montagu, S.M.S., 241. 26. F. Huxley, 104. 

27. Gifford, 42; Edwardes, 93. 28.Dumezil,559. 29.Guignebert,71-72. 30.Angus,239. 

31.Gaster,317. 32. Frazer, G.B., 403-9. 33. Frazer,G.B.,405. 34. Lederer, 145. 

35. Gaster, 609. 36. Vermaseren, 126. 37. Robertson, 1 12. 38. H. Smith, 235. 

39. Bullough, 100. 40. Briffault 3, 372. 41. Bullough, 113. 42. Brewster, 402. 

43. Castiglioni, 221. 44. Graves, G.M. 1, 72. 45. Spinka, 1 19-20. 

46. Graves, G.M. 1, 32; Spinka, 117. 47. Robbins, 127. 48. Lederer, 162. 

49. Martello, 175-76. 



Cat Cat 

Along with the owl, the bat, and the wolf, the animal most commonly 
^^^mmmmt^mmm^ associated with witches was the cat. Like everything else associated with 
witchcraft, this idea dated back to ancient Goddess-worship. 

The Teutonic Mother Freya rode in a chariot drawn by cats. 1 
Artemis-Diana often appeared in cat form, and was identified with 
the Egyptian cat-goddess Bast. The willow sacred to Hecate became a 
pussy-willow that bore "catkins" in the spring. 2 

Cat worship began in Egypt, where the first domesticated cats 
descended from a wild ancestor, felis hbyca? Plutarch said the cat was 
carved on Isis's holy sistrum and represented the moon, "[i]ts activity in 
the night, and the peculiar circumstances which attend its fecundity 
making it a proper emblem of that body. For it is reported of this 
creature, that it at first brings forth one, then two, afterwards three, 
and so goes on adding one to each former birth till it comes to seven; so 
that she brings forth twenty-eight in all, corresponding as it were to the 
several degrees of light, which appear during the moon's revolutions." 4 

The Egyptian word for cat was Mau, both an imitation of the cat's 
cry, and a mother-syllable. Cats were so sacred in Egypt that any man 
who killed one was condemned to death. Diodorus, a first-century B.C. 
Greek historian, told of a foolish Roman who killed a cat in Egypt and 
was slain in his own house by an infuriated mob. 5 

Bast, the Cat-mother of the city of Bubastis, was the benevolent 
aspect of Hathor, the Lioness. Festivals of Bast were joyful with music, 
dancing, jokes, and sexual rites. 6 Her dark side was Hathor as the 
leonine Sphinx, Sekhmet (Greek Sakhmis), tearer and devourer of 
men. 7 "By my life, when I slay men my heart rejoices," she said. Her 
feast day commemorated a massacre once perpetrated by Sekhmet the 
Great Cat. The Egyptian calendar of lucky and unlucky days noted for 
this one, with inadvertent humor: "Hostile, hostile, hostile is the 12th 
Tybi. Avoid seeing a mouse on this day." 8 

Medieval belief in the cat's nine lives probably stemmed from the 
Egyptian Ennead, via the mythic figure of the Ninefold Goddess. It was 
often said any witch could assume a cat's shape nine times in her life. 9 
She could also assume the shape of a hare. 10 Frazer observed: "Cats are 
precisely the animals into which, with the possible exception of hares, 
witches were most usually supposed to transform themselves." n 

Brought to England, cats were confused with hares as the Moon- 
goddess's totems. The root language of Sanskrit called the moon cacin, 
"that marked with the Hare," but some said the lunar animal might be a 
cat. 12 Queen Boadicea's banners bore the device of the moon-hare, 
which was also dedicated to the Saxon Goddess Eostre (Easter) at her 
rites of spring: hence the Easter Bunny. Irish peasants still observe the 
matriarchal taboo on hare meat, saying to eat a hare is to eat one's 
grandmother. 13 Both hares and cats had obviously yonic nicknames: 
cunny, pussy. A rabbit warren is still called a cunnary. 14 


To the Scots, the Goddess of Witches was Mither o' the Mawkins. Catherine, Saint 

"Mawkin" or "malkm" was either a hare or a cat. 15 When the cat 

became the primary lunar animal, the traditional witch's familiar was ^_ ___ 

Greymalkin or Grimalkin, a "gray cat." Gray malkins were also the ^^^^^ 

"pussies" or "catkins" on the pussy willow, sacred to witches and 
heralding the pagan games of May. 

Inquisitor Nicholas Remy said all cats were demons. In 1387, 
Lombard witches were said to worship the devil as a cat. 16 Christians 
sometimes exposed cats to torture and fire along with witches. At certain 
festivals, such as Midsummer, Easter, and Shrove Tuesday, it was 
customary to burn cats in wicker cages. "The cat, which represented the 
devil, could never suffer enough." 17 According to Jewish belief, cats 
were not made by God. The first pair of male and female cats were 
"snorted forth" from the nostrils of a lion on board Noah's ark. 18 

1. Turville-Petre, 107; Branston, 133. 2. Graves, CM. 1,115. 

3. Encyc. Brit., "Cat." 4. Budge, G.E. 2, 257. 5. BudgcG.E. 2, 61, 364. 

6. Larousse, 37. 7. Budge, G.E. 1, 517. 8. Larousse, 36. 9. Hazlitt, 661. 

10.Briffault2,618-19. 11. Frazer, G.B., 762. 12. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A 204 

13. Graves, W.G., 319. 14. Wainwright, 272. 15. Potter & Sargent 71 

16. Cavendish, P.E., 223, 247. 17. Frazer, G.B., 760. 18.0chs 106 

Catherine, Saint 

One of the most popular saints of all time despite the fact that she 
never existed. In the hearts of many people she was second only to the 
virgin Mary. 1 Yet even Catholic scholars admit her legend is 
"preposterous." 2 

The key to the secret of St. Catherine is her so-called Catherine 
Wheel, the wheel of fire on which she was said to have been 
martyred. At Sinai, the original center of Catherine's cult, the Asiatic 
Goddess was once portrayed as the Dancer on the Fiery Wheel at 
the hub of the universe. A Greek convent of priestess-nuns at Sinai in 
the 8th century a.d. called themselves kathari, "pure ones," a word 
akin to the Kathakali temple-dancers of India, who performed the 
Dance of Time in honor of Kali, Goddess of the karmic wheel. 5 

The symbol of the wheel figured prominently in beliefs of medi- 
eval Gnostics who called themselves Cathari, and revered St. 
Catherine almost as a female counterpart of God. Perhaps for this 
reason, in the 1 5 th and 16th centuries, after the Cathari were 
exterminated, Catholic prelates made efforts to have St. Catherine 
eliminated from the canon. 4 

Her Christian myth made her the standard young beauty dedicated 
to virginity, and so wise she could demolish the arguments of fifty 
philosophers at once. She refused the hand of the emperor in marriage, 
whereupon he following the hagiographers' usual curious pat- 
tern essayed to win her love by having her imprisoned and tortured. 
Her captors tried to break her on the fiery wheel, but the wheel was 



shattered by a sudden bolt of lightning and she was saved. In the end, 
she had to be beheaded. Milk flowed from her veins instead of blood. 
Angels carried her body from Alexandria to Sinai, where her relics were 
"discovered" 500 years later. 5 Her divine bones constantly exuded a 
healing unguent, which was bottled and sold at great profit to the 
convent. 6 

1. Brewster, 104. 2. Artwater, 209. 3. Encyc. Brit, "Kathakali." 4. Brewster, 499. 
5. Attwater, 209-10; Encyc. Brit., "Catherine." 6. de Voragine, 715. 

The Bible called 
lapis lazuli sappur or 
"holy blood." It was 
the substance of God's 
throne (Ezekiel 
1:26). The Authorized 
Version inaccurately 
translates sappur as 
"sapphire." 8 


The symbol commonly opposed to the cross, as the witches' object 
of worship; in pagan tradition, the Great Mother's cosmic womb. As the 
"pot of blood in the hand of Kali," the cauldron signified cyclic 
recurrence, as opposed to the patriarchal view of linear time. 

Shakespeare followed the traditional pattern in associating the 
cauldron with three witches, since, from its earliest appearances in 
Bronze Age and Iron Age cultures, the cauldron stood for the Triple 
Goddess of fate, or wyrd in Old English: the three Weird Sisters. 1 

The Egyptian hieroglyphic sign of the threefold Creatress, mother 
of the sun, the universe, and all the gods, was a design of three 
cauldrons. 2 The Norse god Odin stole his divine power from three 
cauldrons of Wise Blood in the cave-womb of the earth, where he 
entered in the shape of a phallic serpent and beguiled the earth-giantess 
by making love to her. 3 Then he drank the magic blood from the 
cauldrons and became a shape-shifter, turning himself into a bird to 
carry the precious blood back to other gods. This myth was based on 
that of the Aryan sky-god Indra, who also drank the Goddess's ambrosia 
from three cauldrons, the three wombs of Kali's trinity. 4 Indra stole 
the elixir by allowing himself to be swallowed by a vast serpent 
representing female sexuality (Kundalini). He too turned into a bird 
to carry the elixir to other gods. 

In nearly all mythologies there is a miraculous vessel. Sometimes it 
dispenses youth and life, at other times it possesses the power of 
healing, and occasionally, as with the mead cauldron of the Nordic Ymir, 
inspiring strength and wisdom are to be found in it. Often . . . it effects 
transformations. s 

The cauldron that effected transformations was the same as the 
womb that churned out rebirths, changing shapes each time. In Babylon 
it was under the control of the Fate-goddess Siris, mother of stars. Her 
cauldron was the blue heaven, where she stirred the mead of 
regeneration. "Siris, the wise woman, the mother, who had done what 
was necessary. Her cauldron is of shining lapis lazuli. Her tub is of 
pure silver and gold. In mead stands jubilation, in mead sits rejoicing." 6 

Lapis lazuli was the blue heaven stone prized for its power to cause 
rebirth. The Papyrus of Nekhtu-Amen said an amulet of lapis lazuli 


stood for the heart (ab), source of mother-blood; therefore the amulet 
was inserted into a mummy to generate a new heart for the 
deceased. 7 

Chaldean cosmology saw the sky as a nesting of seven vessels, the 
planetary spheres, like inverted bowls or cauldrons. Beneath the earth 
lay the mirror image of this celestial realm, seven more spheres some- 
times described as cauldrons. A Hittite myth called them the vessels 
of Mother Death, dark twin sister of the heavenly Mother Siris: "The 
doorkeeper has opened the seven doors, has unlocked the seven bolts. 
Down in the dark earth there stand seven cauldrons, their lids oiabaru 
metal, their handles of iron. Whatever goes in there comes not out 
again." 9 

Egyptians sometimes saw the seven-circled nether womb as a 
regenerative cauldron called the Lake of Fire. 10 The corresponding 
celestial vessels were "above heaven." n But the divine cauldron also 
appeared right on earth, within the sacred precincts of the temple. 

King Aeson was resurrected after being boiled in the cauldron of 
Medea, "Mead of Wisdom," eponymous mother goddess of the 
Medes. King Minos too was boiled in the Goddess's cauldron and 
deified in Tartarus, where he became a judge and a Lord of Death. 
Under the name of Demeter, the Goddess restored Pelops to life in her 
cauldron. 15 According to his inscription at Mount Hermon, the 
Roman emperor Elagabalus was likewise "deified in the cauldron." 16 

St. John the Evangelist was oddly assimilated to the pagan myth of 
the regenerative cauldron. He was boiled in it and came forth livelier 
than before. His symbols were a bleeding heart and a boiling cauldron. 17 
The syncretism of the "Feast of St. John at the Latin Gate" 
eventually became too embarrassing, and the festival was expunged 
from the Christian calendar in I960. 18 The apocryphal St. George, 
however, continued to enter the cauldron as one of his alleged tortures. 
By making the sign of the cross, he rendered it lukewarm and 
harmless, an example of a matriarchal symbol made subordinate to a 
patriarchal one. 19 

Among the Celts of Gaul and Britain, the Cauldron of Regen- 
eration was the central religious mystery: reincarnation within the womb 
of the Goddess. The Irish who worshipped the threefold Morrigan 
called the second person of her trinity Badb, "Boiling," the producer of 
life, wisdom, inspiration, and enlightenment. 20 

To Welsh bards she was the Goddess Branwen, "one of the three 
Matriarchs of the Island," owner of the Cauldron of Regeneration in 
which dead men could be resuscitated overnight. 21 As "a powerful fairy 
queen," the Lady of the Lake of the Basin, she dwelt in a sacred lake 
from which her brother Bran the Blessed raised the cauldron later 
known as the Holy Grail. 22 This pagan god was Christianized as 
Bron, alleged brother-in-law of Joseph of Arimathea who was supposed 
to have brought the Grail to Britain. Actually, the Grail was well 
established in British paganism long before its legend was assimilated to 


Large cauldrons in 
Egyptian temples were 
called shi, the 
prototype of the brass 
"sea" in Solomon's 
temple, which was 
certainly a Cauldron 
of Regeneration. 12 
Babylonian temples 
had the same vessel, 
called apsu or 
"abyss," for baptism, 
ceremonial lavage, 
and rebirth rituals." 
Such a "sea" was 
also called "the Deep," 
tehom in Hebrew.' * 
Like the Christian 
baptismal font 
descended from these 
forerunners, the 
cauldron or "sea" was a 
womb symbol. 
Solomon's "sea" 
represented his 
Goddess, Ashtoreth 
(Astarte). It was 
decorated with her 
yonic lilies: "The 
brim thereof was 
wrought like the 
brim of a cup, with 
flowers of lilies" 
(1 Kings 7:26). 


Cauldron that of Christ. 23 Branwen, Goddess of the Cauldron, had yet another 

incarnation in medieval romance as Brangwain, the wise-woman who 

^^^^^^^^^^^ m gave Tristan and Iseult their fatal love potion. 24 

The Goddess had earthly incarnations too. Childeric, son of 
Merovech or Merovig, founder of the first dynasty of French kings, 
married a druidess named Basina (Cauldron), who foretold the future of 
his dynasty. 25 

Like the "seas" in ancient temples, the Cauldron of Regeneration 
also had its counterparts on earth. Each Celtic temple had its sacred 
cauldron. Aubrey's A Natural History of Surrey mentioned a pagan 
cauldron still preserved in Frensham Church, "an extraordinary great 
kettle or cauldron" brought by the fairies, according to local legend. 26 
An 8th-century Salic Law against priestesses or, as the church 
called them, witches prohibited the pagan practice of "bearing the 
cauldron" in procession to "the places where they cook." 27 

The Welsh bard Taliesin claimed to have received the mead of 
wisdom from his mother, the Goddess Cerridwen, "the Celtic Great 
Mother, the Demeter." 28 

She resolved, according to the arts of the books ofFferyllt (Fairy-wisdom)., 
to boil a Cauldron of Inspiration and Science for her son . . . which 
from the beginning of its boiling might not cease to boil for a year and a 
day, until three blessed drops were obtained of the Grace of 
Inspiration. 29 

Taliesin's poetry contained oblique allusions to the magic caul- 
dron, couched in the semi-opaque terms that concealed mystical secrets 
from the uninitiated. His "year and a day" was a reference to the 
lunar calender of the pagans, a year of thirteen 28-day lunar months, 
364 days, with one more day to make 365. The same "year and a 
day" occurred in many fairy tales. (See Menstrual Calendar.) Talie- 
sin's Preiddeu Annwn (Harrowings of Hell) spoke of the Nine 
Maidens, priestesses of the perpetual fire that boiled the symbolic world 
cauldron; and of the yonic shrine, Hel's gate, to which the king's 
sword (or phallus) was lifted: 

In Caer Pedryvan (four times revolving) 

The Word from the cauldron it would be spoken 

By the breath of nine maidens it would be kindled, 

The head of Hades 's cauldron what is it like? 

A rim it has, with pearls round its border; 

It boils not a cowards food: it would not be perjured. 

The sword ofLlwch Lleawc would be lifted to it. 

And in the hand ofLleminawc was it left. 

And before the door of Hell's gate lamps were burning, 

And when we accompanied Arthur, a brilliant effort, 

Seven alone did we return from Caer Veddwit. i0 

Nine sisters were the same as the nine Goddesses of the 
Fortunate Isles ruled by Morgan le Fay, and the nine Muses of Greek 
myth, and the pre-Hellenic ninefold Goddess Nonacris, queen of the 


Stygian birth-gate. 51 She, or they, came from Oriental traditions almost 
as old as civilization. During their Bronze Age Shang period, the 
Chinese represented the Great Goddess of birth by nine tripod caul- 
drons like the mixing-vessels of the Muses. 32 

The primitive cult of the cauldron obviously discouraged "cow- 
ards" because it was cult of martyrdom. Like Christian martyrs, the 
cauldron's victims were promised immediate resurrection into a life of 
glory. Strabo spoke of Cimbrian priestesses who sacrificed men, 
making them divine heroes, and caught their blood in magic cauldrons 
and read omens in their entrails. 33 

Some myths hint at cannibal cauldrons large enough to boil a 
human body, and beliefs that death in the cauldron was not really 
death. A gypsy legend spoke of a hero forced by a mystic Lady to milk 
dangerous mares, then bathe in a boiling cauldron of their milk. A 
god in the form of a royal horse promised to breathe frost on the 
cauldron and render it comfortably lukewarm. 34 The story recalls the 
Corinthians' "man-eating mares," or horse-masked priestesses, who 
caused Bellerophon to mount to heaven on the royal horse Pegasus, 
symbol of apotheosis after death. 35 

Horseback riding is a sign of deification on the famous silver 
sacrificial cauldron recovered from a Gundestrup peat bog. Manufac- 
tured about 100 B.C., the vessel showed a ceremony of sacrifice. Victims 
appear to be identified with the Horned God, Cernunnos, seated in a 
yogi's lotus position holding male and female symbols, the serpent and 
tore. 36 On foot, a row of victims approach the sacred cauldron which 
is shield-shaped and double-lobed, resembling a yoni. A priest or 
priestess is shown plunging one victim headfirst into the vessel. 37 
Above, the heroes depart glorified, on horseback, riding literally into the 
sunset, which represented heaven. Cernunnos himself was dismem- 
bered and cooked in a cauldron to rise again, which made him the 
obvious god for such rites. 38 

A scene similar to that of the Gundestrup Cauldron occurs on a 
sacred cista from Palestrina-Praeneste. Rome's Mother of Time, 
Anna Perenna, appears to the dying god Mars in the guise of his virgin 
bride, Minerva. She stands over her naked lover and pushes his head 
down into a boiling cauldron, while the dog of the underworld gate 
looks on, as also on the Gundestrup example. 39 

Some pagan Mysteries employed visions of the Cauldron as 
symbolic death and rebirth. Before a Siberian shaman could practice, 
he was required to undergo hallucinatory experiences of being chopped 
to pieces and boiled in a cauldron, sometimes for a period as long as 
three years. Yakut, Buryat, and other tribes say the shaman must be 
killed by the spirits of ancestors, cooked in their magic cauldron, then 
given new flesh. "Shaman" comes from Tungusic saman, "one who 
died," a man assimilated to the Lord of Death called Samana in 
Sanskrit. Tibetan shamans made the soul-journey to the "Great Hell" 
pictured as an iron cauldron, called House of Iron or Iron Mountain. 


Strabo Greek 
traveler, geographer, 
and historian of the 
first century B.C., a 
follower of the Stoic 

Cimbri Germanic 
tribes from Jutland, 
which Romans called 
the Cimbrian peninsula. 
In the 2nd century 
B.C., a Cimbrian army 
marched against 
Rome and caused great 
consternation in the 



There the aspirant was dismembered by rakshasas obsolete ancestral 
deities and boiled, not in punishment for sin but as an initiatory 
procedure. 40 

Skald-shamans of Scandinavia made the same soul-journey to 
Hvergelmir, the Mighty Roaring Cauldron, source of life-giving 
waters at the foundations of the earth. This was another version of the 
triple cauldron in the earth-womb, from which Odin received inspira- 
tion and power. Hvergelmir was triple too, accompanied by the fount of 
wisdom and memory called Mimir (an archaic "mother"), and the 
fount of ongoing life called Urdarbrunner, the stream of Mother Earth. 
Founts and cauldrons in the earth were tended by the three Fates 
(Norns), of whom the first was Mother Earth herself. 41 

Even when the Cauldron of Regeneration entered Christian 
tradition as the Holy Grail, supposedly the chalice of Christ's last 
supper, it was referred to as an escuele or "cauldron." 42 Arthur's knights 
originally sought the Grail in the underworld of Annwn, receiving 
their divine vision of it in the castle of Elaine, or Elen, the virgin aspect 
of the triple Moon-goddess. It appeared in her hands, heralded by her 
yonic dove. It meant death for her chosen one, Galahad, who reigned as 
a sacred king, then died at the altar as he saw his vision of the Grail. 43 

The Cistercian Estoire del Saint Graal said "two heathen rulers," 
Mordrain and Nascien (Death and Rebirth) were blinded by the 
vision of the Grail, but healed by the touch of the lance that pierced 
Christ, both of these objects being kept in the same sanctuary. 44 The 
motive seems to have been to belittle the female symbol (grail) in favor 
of the male symbol (lance). 

1. Goodrich, 18. 2. Book of the Dead, 1 14. 3. Lamusse, 257. 

4. Campbell, Or.M., 182. 5. Jung & von Franz, 1 14. 6. Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 308. 

7. Budge, E.M., 30. 8. Graves, W.G., 290. 9. Hooke, M.E.M., 101. 

10. Book of the Dead, 205-6. 11. Budge, G.E. 1, 203. 12. Maspero, 283. 

13.Hooke,S.P.,47. 14. Lethaby,219. 15. Graves, G.M. 2,27. 16. Gaster, 587. 

17. Brewster, 230. 18. Attwater, 189. 19. de Voragine, 236. 

20. Graves, W.G, 409. 21. Rees, 47. 22. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 619. 

23. Campbell, CM., 533. 24. Guerber, L.M.A., 240. 25. Guerber, L.R., 147-48. 

26. Keightley, 295. 27. J.B. Russell, 69. 28. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 620. 

29. Briffault 3,451.30. Malory 1 , xxi. 3 1 . Graves, W.G, 406. 

32. Campbell, Or.M., 397. 33. Wendt, 137. 34. Groome, 107. 

35. Graves, G.M. 1, 255-56. 36. Lamusse, 142. 37. Cavendish, V.H.H., 49. 

38. Jung & von Franz, 373. 39. Dumezil, 213, 243. 

40. Eliade, S., 41, 159, 237, 439. 41. Branston, 53, 82; Turville-Petre, 246. 

42. Campbell, CM., 531. 43. Malory 2, 130, 268. 44. Campbell, CM., 535. 

Porphyry (ca. 234- 
305 a.d.) Neoplatonist 
philosopher, scholar, 
and writer; biographer 
of Plotinus; an 
opponent of the 
Christian church, 
which eventually 
destroyed most of his 


Porphyry said before there were temples, all religious rites took place 
in caves. 1 The cave was universally identified with the womb of Mother 
Earth, the logical place for symbolic birth and regeneration. Etruscan 
and Roman temples featured a subterranean mundus, meaning both 
"earth" and "womb." 2 Similarly, the Sanskrit word for a sanctuary, 
garbha-grha, meant "womb." 3 

Holy places of Hinduism were caves representing the Great 



Mother's yoni. Many gompas (holy hermitages) were first established Cave 

in caves. Like the^mountain of paradise, home of the gods, the Four 

Great Caves of Sikkim were distinguished according to the four ^^^^^___^_ 

cardinal points. North is the cave of the god's hill; west, the cave of great 

happiness; south, the cave of occult fairies; east, the secret cave, from 

which the sun is born. 4 

Among the oldest forms of the Hindu Goddess was Kurukulla, a" 
matrikadevi colored red like the womb, and called Mother of Cav- 
erns. 5 As an emanation of Kali she was worshipped in cave-temple 
complexes like Ellora, Ajanta, Elephanta. Her western counterpart 
was Phrygian Cybele, "Cavern-dweller," the Great Mother of the 
Gods. A Latin form of her name was Sybil, the prophetic spirit in the 
cavern-dwelling Cumaean sybils, by whose order the Great Mother of 
the Gods was brought to Rome in 204 b.c. 

Cybele's castrated priests claimed none of their brotherhood ever 
died. Instead, they went "down into the cavern" to be united with 
their Goddess. Cybele's cavern-shrines were also called marriage cham- 
bers, like the pastos of Eleusis. The Alexandrian poet Nicander called 
them "marriage bowers of Rhea Lobrine." 6 They were also the "sacred 
subterranean places" where those who had emasculated themselves 
in honor of Attis and Cybele used to come to deposit the offering of 
their genitals. 7 

Rhea was the Cretan name of the same Goddess, during the long 
period when fatherhood was unknown or negligible in Cretan soci- 
ety. 8 All life was supposed to have arisen from her uterine cave on 
Mount Dicte, whence came the e-dicts of her holy law; hence her 
title of Dictynna, Lawgiver. She was also called Britomartis the "sweet 
virgin," the mother without a spouse. 9 From the same uterine cave 
she gave birth to Zeus, who later claimed to be Father of Gods. 

Cave-temples of Rhea Dictynna evolved into dicteria, which the 
Laws of Solon designated public brothels. In the era of the promiscu- 
ous priestesses, words for cave, temple, and brothel were often 
interchangeable. 10 To visit the cave and lie with the holy harlot was 
an act of worship. During the early Christian era, most pagan mystery 
cults celebrated their most sacred rites in caves or underground 

Followers of Mithra considered the cave so essential to proper 
worship that, if the site of a temple had no natural cave, an artificial 
one was dug. The cave on the Vatican belonged to Mithra until 376 
a.d., when a city prefect suppressed the cult of the rival Savior and 
seized the shrine in the name of Christ, on the very birthday of the 
pagan god, December 25. 11 

Despite the church's efforts at suppression, the old deities contin- 
ued to be worshipped in sacred caves for many centuries. So many 
"grottoes" contained pagan idols that decorative ideas for cathedral 
sculptures were copied from them: hence the grotesques or "grotto- 
creatures" swarming in Gothic art. As late as the 1 5th century, Pope 


Cave Calixtus II tried to forbid religious ceremonies in sacred caves. 12 As 

entrances to the underworld, caves were still associated with the Great 
^^^^^^^^^^^^ Mother's yonic gate. A long-revered gate to the womb of the world 
was a sea-cave on the southern Peloponnese near the shrine of Mar- 
mari Mother Mari, the Sea-goddess whose other names were 
Aphrodite Marina, Marah, and Mary. 13 

Up to the 1 8th century, a cave called Tangrogo in Denbighshire 
was kept by "three fairy sisters" the three Fates whose footprints 
were often seen around the edge of its magic pool. The cave was said to 
contain "hidden treasures," a term that often meant paraphernalia of 
the Old Religion. 14 

Spenser said the hidden treasures of the Faery Queen's Bower of 
Bliss were the same as those of the virgin Mary's secret "enclosed 
garden": a magic pool of regeneration, a Tree of Life, singing birds, 
apples, and roses, including the central Rose of Love. Andreas 
Capellanus said the grotto of the pagan Goddess was a Palace of Love 
in the center of the earth (in medio mundi), with the male and 
female symbols of a Tree of Life and a sacred spring. 15 

Sacred caves were still used as "marriage bowers" long after 
paganism had been forced underground literally. Bards who adored 
the heretical Goddess of Love (Minne) mentioned certain Grottoes of 
Love, hewn by heathen giants in the wild mountains, where people 
could hide when "they wished privacy to make love." Gottfried von 
Strassburg said whenever such a cave was found, it was sealed with a 
bronze door inscribed La fossiure a le gent amant, the Grotto for People 
in Love. "Above, the vault was finely joined, and on the keystone 
there was a crown, embellished beautifully by the goldsmith's art with 
an incrustation of gems. The pavement below was of a smooth, 
shining and rich marble, green as grass. In the center stood a bed, 
handsome and cleanly hewn of crystal, high and wide, well raised 
from the ground, and engraved round about with letters which 
according to the legend proclaimed its dedication to the goddess 
Love." 16 

The healing waters of all the sacred springs in Europe acquired 
new myths ascribing their virtues to saints or to the Virgin, but their 
real traditions sprang from the regenerative caves of the pagan Goddess. 
Up to the 19th century a sacred cave near Dunskey, Scotland, was 
used for the curative magic of its spring. The sick were brought from 
great distances to be bathed in the waters, always "at the change of 
the moon," showing that the place was a matriarchal shrine. Its magic 
baptisms were believed especially beneficial to weak or undernour- 
ished children. 17 

1. Robertson, 111. 2. Hays, 181. 3. Campbell, CM., 168. 4. Waddell, 256-57. 

5. Larousse, 359. 6. Gaster, 609. 7. Vermaseren, 111. 8. Briffault 1, 392. 

9. Larousse, 86. 10. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 16. 

1 l.J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 146. 12. Jung, M.H.S., 234. 13. Hughes, 159. 

14. Hazlitt, 580. 1 5. Wilkins, 128, 139. 16. Campbell, CM., 44. 17. Hazlitt, 420. 


Cecilia, Saint - ... 

' Cealia, Saint 

Mythical saint whose legend was built on some bones discovered by Centaurs 

Pope Paschal I in a Roman catacomb bearing the name Calliste __ 

probably Artemis Calliste as the Muse of music, which became the 
special province of "St. Cecilia."' Fired by the current mania for relic- 
hunting (9th century a.d.), the pope immediately declared that 
Cecilia was a virgin martyr of the second or maybe the third century, 
and that she was tortured to death for rejecting her pagan bridegroom 
on the very day of their wedding. He ordered her canonized at once. 2 
The name Cecilia meant Lily of Heaven, another ancient title of 
the Goddess. 3 

1. Encyc. Brit, "Cecilia." 2. Attwater, 81.3. Chaucer, 454. 


Greek koimeteria was a Place of the Mother, where the dead could 
rest as close as possible to the Goddess's temples. The custom was 
continued in Christian Europe. The church-yard, home of the dead, 
derived from Germanic gar d ox garth, meaning "earth" or "world," i.e., 
the world of the dead under the soil. 

Tantric dakinis celebrated the rites of the dead in cremation 
grounds, "where ordinary people feared to go," because they were 
death-priestesses intimately acquainted with necropoli. 1 Their Goddess, 
Kali Ma the Destroyer, was the same queen of tombs called Kalma in 
Finno-Ugric myth. 2 Dakinis became European vilas, valas, or wilis, 
women associated with the dead, later called witches. The traditional 
legend of witches celebrating their sabbats in cemeteries may have had a 
real basis in ancient matriarchy. 

1. Rawson, E.A., 152. 2. Larousse, 306. 


Greek horse-spirits derived from Hindu asvins and the man-horse 
wizards of central Asia. Centaurs were magic shape-shifters, and teach- 
ers of the Hellenic gods. 1 Their most familiar appearance was with 
the head and shoulders of a man and the body and legs of a horse. Their 
other name was Magnetes, "great ones." 2 They have been connect- 
ed with Latin centuria, a company of 100 soldiers. 5 Perpetual rivals of 
the Centaurs were the Lapiths, "men-who-use-stone-weapons," a 
hint of their extreme antiquity. See Horse. 

1. Graves, W.G., 255-56. 2. Lawson, 244. 3. Graves, CM. 1, 361. 


Ceraunos, Saint 

Ceraunos, Saint 

Canonized form of one of the phallic lightning-gods who descended 
into Earth's womb, like Lucifer, to become a lord of the underworld. 
Pagans sometimes called the lightning Gemma Cerauniae, the Jewel 
of Ceraunos "jewel" in the same sense as the Tantric (male) Jewel in 
the (female) Lotus. 1 The Greeks thought when Ceraunos descended 
into the underworld, he became Charon, the ferryman of the Styx. 2 As 
a saint, he had little purpose other than to attract to Christianity those 
who had formerly worshipped him as a psychopomp. 
1. Leland, p. 250. 2. H. Smith, p. 227 


Sign of Ceres 


Latin form of the Great Goddess, cognate with Greek Kore or Core, 
identified with Demeter as Mother Earth. As the earth-ruling aspect of 
the Goddess's trinity, Ceres combined with Juno as queen of heaven, 
and Proserpine as queen of the underworld. She was called Ceres 
Legifera, "Ceres the Lawgiver." Her priestesses were considered the 
foundresses of the Roman legal system. 1 

Ceres ruled Rome through her sacred matronae, during that lost 
period of four centuries before 200 B.C., a period whose written 
records were destroyed by later patriarchal historians, leaving only a 
residue of myths and religious customs that were only vaguely 
explained. 2 Farmers viewed her as the source of all food and kept her 
rites faithfully, for fear of crop failure. 

This was true not only of Roman farmers but even of Christian 
farmers. Ceres's greatest annual festival, the Cerealia, was celebrated 
in the British Isles almost to the present day. An account of the Shire of 
Murray in the late 19th century said, "In the middle of June, farmers 
go round their corn with burning torches, in memory of the Cerealia." 3 

1. Bachofen, 192. 2. Dumezil, 10. 3. Hazlitt, 101. 


Celtic version of the Horned God, shown in sacred art with antlers 
strapped to his head, seated in lotus position like a yogi. 1 This contem- 
plative pose was typical of Gallo-Roman deities in the first millenium 
B.C. 2 Cernunnos was a consort of the Moon-goddess, whose Roman 
name Diana may have been related to Sanskrit dhyana, "yogic 
contemplation." 5 Medieval romances spoke of pagan heroes who ac- 
quired godlike powers by falling into a trance of "contemplation" of 
the Goddess as lady-love. 4 

1 . Campbell, Or.M., 307. 2. Larousse, 232. 3. Campbell, Or.M., 440. 
4. Goodrich, 69. 


Cerridwen Cerridwen 

Celtic name for the Triple Goddess, especially as the fearsome death- Chakra 

totem, a white, corpse-eating Sow representing the moon. She was the ^^^^^m 

same as Syrian Astarte or Greek Demeter, both of whom appeared as 

sows. So did Freya, one of whose titles was a cognate of Cerridwen that 

is Syr, "the Sow." 1 var. Cerdo 

^ Cerdo is the Spanish word for pig. Harvest dances in the Spanish 
Pyrenees were cerdana, "pig-dances," celebrated in honor of the 
Goddess who both gave and took away, and harvested souls in her 
character as "the source of life, and the receptacle of the dead." 2 A 
rich wheat-growing region in the Pyrenees was dominated by her sacred 
town, Puigcerda, or Cerdo's Hill. 3 Her cult probably went back to the 
prehistoric temples of Malta, which had images of the Goddess in the 
shape of a sow. 

Welsh bards who composed funerary elegies called themselves 
cerddorion, sons of Cerridwen or Cerdo. Their greatest hero, Talie- 
sin, a founder of their craft, was said to have been born of Cerridwen 
and specially treated by her to a few precious drops of magical 
inspiration from her Cauldron. 

l.Turville-Petre, 168. 2. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 621. 3. Graves, W.G., 58-60 

Chad, Saint 

Legendary bishop of Mercia, said to be a follower of the canonized 
princess Wereburg (see Convent). He was probably never a real 
person. His "brother" St. Cedd was called bishop of London, but 
both Chad and Cedd were variants of the pagan god Ceadda, who was 
associated with magic healing springs. In the runic calendar, the 
emblem of St. Chad was a palm branch, or Tree of Life. 1 

A pagan deity named Chaddi is still worshipped by the Samoyeds, 
who practice a nominal Christianity as long as all goes well, but in 
time of trouble return to their own Chaddi. "Heathen services are 
conducted by night within old stone-circles, and all images of Chaddi 
are carefully screened from view. . . . [Wjithin these cromlechs were 
formerly offered up those human sacrifices with which the natives 
used to propitiate Chaddi." 2 

1. Brewster, 122. 2. Johnson, 139. 


Tantric term for the magic circle of worshippers, alternating men and 
women after the manner of the egg-and-dart frieze; also, one of the 
"rings" or stages of enlightenment, visualized as steps ascending the 
spinal column, as the inner serpent goddess Kundalini uncoils from the 


Chaldean pelvis upward to the head. This ascent of the chakras was likened to 

Chaos different stages of initiatory teaching, each taking place in a magic circle 

^ HH ^^^^ HBB ^ H whose members cooperated in the effort of comprehension. 

The chakra was essentially the same as the Sufic halka, "magic 
circle," called the heart and basic unit of Sufism. 1 The purpose of a 
properly conducted chakra was to make each participant feel "as if the 
Shakti was their own Mother who had borne them." 2 She was a 
mother-bride, compounded of the felt presence of both Goddess and 
woman. In the classic chakra, each man had his wife or shakti to his 
left, while the Lord of the Chakra with his shakti occupied the center of 
the circle. 3 European pagan religions maintained the same arrange- 
ment, which eventually became the pattern of the circular folk dance. 

1. Shah, 21.2. Avalon, 166. 3. Mahanirvanatantra, cxxi. 


"Moon worshipper," a common name for Mesopotamian astrologers 
who studied the movements of the moon in relation to the stars. 1 
Because the magic powers of the Chaldeans commanded respect 
nearly everywhere in the ancient world, biblical writers made Abraham 
a Chaldean (Genesis 1 1:28). The same name was still being applied 
to astrologers and wizards in the 1 5 th century a.d. 2 

1 . Briffault 2, 600. 2. Lea unabridged, 772. 


Chinese Moon-goddess, sole keeper of the ambrosia of immortality 
(menstrual blood). Her husband, the Excellent Archer, became in- 
tensely jealous of her monopoly of life-magic and quarreled with her. 
So she left him, as Lilith left Adam, and went to live in the moon 
forever, dispensing her precious elixir to women only. 1 

1. Larousse, 383. 


Greek word for the undifferentiated mixture of raw elements sup- 
posed to occupy the World-Goddess's womb before creation and after 
destruction of each recurrent universe. It meant the Goddess herself 
in her state of "eternal flux," when the fluid of her womb was not yet 
clotted into the formative state of a solid world. Chaos is expressed in 
the Bible as the condition of the earth before creation, "without form" 
and "void" (Genesis 1:2). See Doomsday; Tiamat; Tohu Bohu. 


^harites _. 


"Graces," heavenly dispensers of charts (Latin caritas), the grace of Charlemagne 

Mother Aphrodite, which the Bible translates either "love" or "charity" .^^^^ 

(1 Corinthians 13). The Charites were ancient manifestations of the 

Triple Goddess. Pausanias said they were worshipped at Orchomenos 

as three standing stones. 1 The classic myth of their nymph-hood 

hardly described them; nor did their Christian form, the mythical St. 

Charity. See Grace; Sophia, Saint. 

1. Dumezil, 166. 


Frankish emperor, whose reign (768-814) was the second great 
turning-point in the history of the Holy Roman Empire. He was the 
second Constantine. He found it useful to be a Christian, since the 
church condoned his wars of acquisition as pagan tribal religions 
would not and took its share of the spoils, eventually rewarding 
Charlemagne with the crown of the Empire. He was also allowed a 
special status of matrimony, not granted to other men. He had four 
wives and innumerable concubines, which the church tolerantly de- 
scribed as "marriages of the second rank." ' 

Charlemagne's reign was a painful history of aggression against the 
matriarchal religions of his ancestors. In 772 he massacred more than 
4000 Saxons and destroyed their shrine at Heresburg, an omphalos of 
the earth-mother Hera. He cut down the phallic tree trunk Irminsul, 
"Column of the World," the same axis mundi that Greeks called the 
Great Herm, Norwegians called Yggdrasil, and Christians called the 
cross. 2 

After destroying shrines to demoralize the pagan clans, Charle- 
magne imposed vassalage on them and converted them to 
Christianity by the simple offer of a choice between Christ and 
immediate death. All who rejected baptism were to be slain at once. 
In 33 years of constant war, Charlemagne built the Holy Roman 
Empire, at the cost of so many lives that historians have not even 
tried to estimate the extent of the slaughter. 3 

Charlemagne's policy of conversion by the sword succeeded so 
well that the church backed Christian rulers in this kind of military 
activity ever since. As the Song of Roland put it: "The bishops bless the 
waters and convert the heathen. If any man protests, he is burned or 
put to the sword." 4 

Sometimes the blessed waters themselves served to execute the 
unregenerate heathen. It was said that converts made under the rule 
of St. Goar were held under water until they either accepted Christ, or 
drowned. 5 

1. Murstein, 143. 2. Reinach, 144. 3. H. Smith, 251. 
4. Goodrich, 96. 5. Guerber, L.R., 193. 


Charm Charm 

as ' ' e Old English cyrm, a hymn or choral song, came from Latin carmen, 

^^^^^^^^^^" a sacred incantation to the Goddess Carmenta, inventor of alphabets 
and "words of power." ' A "charm" reflected men's ancient belief 
that women exerted power over male bodies and souls through their 
mastery of sung 01 spoken spells invoking the help of the Goddess. 
The belief was not wholly illogical; the Goddess was Nature, and 
Nature caused the signs of sexual attraction, including lovesick 
behavior and penile erection, that made a man feel helplessly subject to 
unknown forces. 

Therefore everything that made a man feel attracted to a woman 
came to be synonymous with witchcraft: charm, enchantment, be- 
witchment, spellbinding, witchery, moon-madness, or glamor in the 
old sense of a spell cast by Morgan of "Glamorgan." The British 
Parliament passed an odd law in 1 770 that hinted at the same archetypal 
fears, making it illegal for a woman to "betray" any man into 
matrimony with such artificialities as false hair, iron stays, high-heeled 
shoes, or perfume. If a husband demonstrated that his wife had used 
such devices, the marriage would be annulled, and the woman would 
"incur the penalty of the law now enforced against witchcraft." 2 

Women's singing was also highly suspect, as this was the classic 
method of casting spells. "Enchant" came from incantare, "to sing 
over" which also meant incantation. 3 

1. Potter & Sargent, 49. 2. Murstein, 227. 3. Funk, 254. 


Classic ferryman of the Styx; like Hermes, conductor of souls to the 
underworld. The dead were buried with coins in the mouth or on the 
eyelids to pay Charon's ferry. The Chinese also used to put money in 
graves, for crossing the river of death. In the Balkans, it was said a 
woman could make her husband "blind as a corpse" to her adultery, 
if she gave him water that had washed the coins from a corpse's eyes. 1 
Charon's fee was Christianized as Peter's Penny: St. Peter's bribe for 
opening the heavenly gates. 2 In Greece, Charon found a new Christian 
identity as St. Charus, escort and guardian of souls in the "lower 
world," or common home of the dead. 3 

l.Frazer,FO.T.,35. 2. Halliday, 50. 3. Hyde, 206, 213. 

Chastity Belt 

Medieval device for locking a woman's potential lovers out of her 
body, while her husband was away from home at wars, pilgrimages, or 
crusades. The pelvic fetter had small spiked holes through which 
urine, feces, and menstrual effluents might pass in theory. In practice; 


it would have been impossible to keep clean. Vaginal infections, skin Chemosh 

eruptions, and ulcers would have been inevitable after wearing such a Cherry 

device for only a short time, let alone months or years. _^ 

In 1 889 the skeleton of a woman was found in a 1 5th-century ^^^^^ 
Austrian graveyard, still wearing the chastity belt that probably caused 
her death. 1 



Hebrew form of Shamash, the sun god of Sippar and Moab, 
worshipped in the temple of Solomon (I Kings 1 1:7). Because Che- 
mosh was one of Yahweh's rivals, called an "abomination" by later 
priests attempting to suppress all cults but their own, he was adopted 
into the still later Christian pantheon of hell as a demon. He was a fa- 
vorite of exorcists, who commonly claimed to have purged the possessed 
of the demon Chemosh. 


"Black God" of the Slavs, adversary of the White God, Byelobog; 
another version of Ahriman opposed to Ahura Mazda, or the Black 
Sun beneath the earth opposed to the White Sun in heaven. Like 
other versions of the chthonian deity, Chernobog was a Lord of Death, 
often invoked for curses. The Ukrainians still say, "May the Black 
God exterminate you!" l In the same manner, ancient Persians invoked 
Ahriman, Chaldeans invoked Aciel, Romans invoked Saturn, and 
Christians invoked the devil. 

1. Lamusse, 283. 


Like many slang expressions, the use of "cherry" for "virginity" may 
be traced to a mythic past. Like other red fruits, such as the apple and 
pomegranate, the cherry symbolized the Virgin Goddess: bearing her 
sacred blood color and bearing its seed within, like a womb. 

Maya, the virgin mother of Buddha, embraced the cherry tree Sala 
while giving birth to her divine child. 1 Some said the tree recognized 
her divinity and bent its branches down to offer its fruit. The story was 
carried to Europe and spawned the medieval Cherry Tree Carol, in 
which Maya became Mary. 

Gypsies applied the love-magic of the cherry to many magic 
charms, especially those associated with virginity. When a gypsy girl 
desired to attract a lover, she drilled holes through fourteen cherry 
stones on the fourteen nights of the waxing moon, and wore them on 


Cherub a cord around her left thigh (the "female" side). 2 The obvious elements 

Chimalman of this magic were penetration of the cherry, and building up to the 

^^ m mm m ^ m ^ m m mm full moon, indicating growth or pregnancy. 

French traditions of courtly love perhaps made "cherry" (cerise) 
synonymous with "beloved" (cherie). Cherry-red was often consid- 
ered the color of love. 

1. Larousse, 348. 2. Bowness, 22. 


Hebrew kerubh, the Babylonian totemic animal deities combining 
eagle wings, lion feet, bull heads, and serpent tails animal symbols of 
the four seasons, cardinal directions, and elements. The cherubim 
who guarded the gates of Eden and the throne of God were quite unlike 
the naked winged babies that romantic and baroque art later called 
cherubs. As animal-masked and costumed priests, the cherubim proba- 
bly descended from Sheban mu-karribim, "close kindred," guardians 
of the shrine of the Moon-goddess at Marib. 


Mexican Goddess similar to Demeter, called Heart of the Earth, and 
ancestress of all peoples. No god could equal her in power. She was 
usually accompanied by a young savior son, a fertility-sacrifice. Her 
angelic messengers were seven serpents. 1 

1. Neumann, G.M., 182. 


Tantric Buddhist concept of the Center of the Universe, where Shiva 
does his eternal dance of life. The same Center was a mythic model of 
the heart as the center of the body, and the heartbeat as the dance; for 
Chidambaram existed "within the heart." ' The heart of the whole 
cosmos was the same as the Cave of the Heart, "where the true self 
resides." 2 This was another expression of Oriental belief in the identity 
of self and deity. See Antinomianism; Heart. 
1. Ross, 32. 2. Menen, 70. 


Virgin mother of the Aztec savior Quetzalcoatl; one of "three 
divine sisters." She was the same Triple Goddess worshipped around 
the world in Virgin, Mother, and Crone aspects. See Trinity. 


Chionia Chionia 

"Snow Queen," a Greek title of one of the Horae; an untouchable Christina, Saint 

virgin Goddess of the high mountains, prototype of the medieval fairy, MttMBMaMai 
Virginal the Ice Queen. She was also canonized as a Christian 
"virgin martyr." 


"Goddess Mother of the Universe," the real name of the world's 
highest mountain, which westerners renamed Everest after a man. This 
masculine name was bestowed on the Goddess Mother in 1863 by 
foreign invaders who preferred to attach patriarchal surnames to 
everything. 1 

1. Encyc. Brit, "Everest, Sir George." 

Christina, Saint 

Another apocryphal "virgin martyr," whose legend was constructed 
on no basis whatever, except the name, meaning "a female Christian." 
Her story was one of those sadistic wonder-tales in which Christian 
writers delighted, piling torture upon torture in fantasies that quite lost 
sight of the natural limitations of human flesh. 

For refusing to burn incense to the pagan gods, Christina was 
locked up in a tower by her father. She was stripped and beaten with 
rods, then torn apart by hooks, and her limbs were broken. Nothing 
daunted, she took up pieces of her own flesh and threw them in her 
father's face, saying, "Take, tyrant, and eat the flesh thou hast begot- 
ten!" So her father then had her sprinkled with oil and roasted on a 
fire-wheel. Then she was thrown into the sea with a stone around her 
neck. Angels saved her, and she returned to her father, who dropped 
dead of frustration. 

Christina's torments were continued by a judge named Elius, who 
had her rocked in a red-hot iron cradle. Her next judge, Julian, threw 
her into a burning furnace, where she walked about unbumed for five 
days. Then, poisonous snakes were hung about her neck. Then, her 
breasts were cut off, and her tongue cut out. She took a piece of her 
tongue and threw it at Julian, striking him in the eye and blinding 
him. Finally, Julian killed her by shooting three arrows into her. 1 This 
can only have been a magic form of destruction, for Christina had by 
this time amply demonstrated her invulnerability to every ordinary 
method of execution. 

It de Voragine, 366-68. 


Christmas Christmas 

For its first three centuries, the Christian church knew no birthday 
mttmmmmmmKmmm for its savior. During the 4th century there was much argument about 
adoption of a date. Some favored the popular date of the Koreion, 
when the divine Virgin gave birth to the new Aeon in Alexandria. 1 Now 
called Twelfth Night or Epiphany, this date is still the official nativity 
in Armenian churches, and celebrated with more pomp than Christmas 
by the Greek Orthodox. 2 

Roman churchmen tended to favor the Mithraic winter-solstice 
festival called Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, Birthday of the Uncon- 
quered Sun. 3 blended with the Greek sun-festival of the Helia by the 
emperor Aurelian, this December 25 nativity also honored such gods 
as Attis, Dionysus, Osiris, Syrian Baal, and other versions of the solar 
Son of Man who bore such titles as Light of the World, Sun of 
Righteousness, and Savior. 4 Most pagan Mysteries celebrated the birth 
of the Divine Child at the winter solstice. Norsemen celebrated the 
birthday of their Lord, Frey, at the nadir oi the sun in the darkest days of 
winter, known to them as Yule. The night of birth, Christmas Eve, 
was called Modranect, Latin matrum noctem, the Night of the Moth- 
er originally a greater festival than Christmas Day. 5 

Early in the 4th century the Roman church adopted December 25 
because the people were used to calling it a god's birthday. But 
eastern churches refused to honor it until 375 a.d. 6 The fiction that 
some record existed in the land of Jesus's alleged birth certainly could 
not be upheld, for the church of Jerusalem continued to ignore the 
official date until the 7th century. 7 

Trappings such as Yule logs, gifts, lights, mistletoe, holly, carols, 
feasts, and processions were altogether pagan. They were drawn from 
worship of the Goddess as mother of the Divine Child. Christmas trees 
evolved from the pinea silva, pine groves attached to temples of the 
Great Mother. On the night before a holy day, Roman priests called 
dendrophori or "tree-bearers" cut one of the sacred pines, decorated 
it, and carried it into the temple to receive the effigy of Attis. 8 Figures 
and fetishes attached to such trees in later centuries seem to have 
represented a whole pantheon of pagan deities on the World Tree. 

Christmas celebrations remained so obviously pagan over the years 
that many churchmen bitterly denounced their "carnal pomp and 
jollity." Polydor Virgil said: "Dancing, masques, mummeries, stage- 
plays, and other such Christmas disorders now in use with Christians, 
were derived from these Roman Saturnalian and Bacchanalian festivals; 
which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate 
them." 9 Puritans in 17th-century Massachusetts tried to ban Christmas 
altogether because of its overt heathenism. 10 Inevitably, the attempt 

A curious mistake in the Christmas mystery play of the Towneley 
cycle shows a Great Mother image not fully assimilated to that of 
Mary. Before their attention was arrested by the annunciatory angel, 


idly chatting shepherds complained of their cruel overlords, and Christos 

prayed "Our Lady" to curse them. 11 Considering that they were not 

acquainted with the Mother of Christ, a rather different "Lady" must ^^^^_^_^^ 

have been intended. 

Among many other superstitions connected with Christmas were 
some that were typical of pagan holy days, such as the belief that 
animals could speak human words at midnight on Christmas Eve, or 
that divinatory voices could be heard at crossroads at the same time. 12 
Also at midnight on Christmas Eve, water in wells and springs was 
supposed to turn into blood, or its sacramental equivalent, wine. The 
miracle was not to be verified, however; for all who witnessed it would 
die within the year. 13 

1. Campbell, M.I., 34. 2. Miles, 22. 3. Reinach, 282. 

4. H. Smith, 130; Hyde, 92; Miles, 23. 5. Turville-Petre, 227. 

6. Frazer, G.B., 416. 7. Miles, 22. 8. Vermaseren, 1 15. 9. Hazlitt, 1 18-19. 

10. de Lys, 372. 11. Miles, 135. 12. Summers, V, 157. 13. Miles, 234. 


"Anointed One," a title of many Middle-Eastern sacrificial gods 
Attis, Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris derived from Oriental cults of the 
sacred marriage. In the east, the god's lingam or the erect penis of his 
statue was anointed with holy oil (Greek chrism) for easier penetration 
of his bride, the Goddess, impersonated by one of the temple virgins. 1 
Before anointing with oil, the god's phallus was often reddened to the 
color of life with pigment, wine, or blood specifically, the menstru- 
al blood of his bride. 2 Because kingship once depended on the sacred 
marriage, anointing became the official rite of investiture for surro- 
gate kings as well as real kings. It carried a promise of godhood. 

The words of the psalmist, "Thou anointest my head with oil," 
evolved from the ancient custom of anointing the god-king's penis, 
for which "head" was a common euphemism. At royal weddings the 
king's head was crowned with a wreath of flowers, as in the Hindu 
svayamara ceremony and flowers, in biblical language, symbolized 
menstrual blood (Leviticus 15:24). Among the pagans, the temple 
virgin deflowering herself on the god's carved phallus would place a 
wreath of flowers on his head at the same time. 3 Eventually the 
anointing of the phallus was displaced to the head because the marriage 
rite was omitted from public sacrifices of the Savior, Redeemer, Son 
of God, etc. Like the New Testament Christ, he was "anointed" only 
for his burying: the marriage with the earth (John 12:7). Jesus 
became a Christos when he was christ-ened for burial by Mary, the 
magdalene or temple maiden (Matthew 26:12), who also announced 
his resurrection (Mark 1 5:47). 

Among the Essenes, a Christos was a priest, specifically designated 
Sin Bearer or Redeemer: one who atoned for others' sins. 4 Among 
the Slavs, Christos or Krstnik meant a sacrificial hero and also an 


Chthonia "accursed one," due to the ancient practice of laying a formal curse 

Circe on the Sin Bearer before he was sacrified. 5 See Firstborn; Kingship. 

^^^^^^^^^^ 1 . Rawson, E.A., 29. 2. G.R. Scott, 1 87; Edwardes, 50. 

^^^^^^^^^~ 3. Legman, 661. 4. Pfeifer, 133. 5. Leland, 145. 


"Subterranean," an epithet of Black Demeter, Cybele, and other 
underground forms of the Goddess; also applied to gods in their nether, 
dark, Lord-of-Death aspect, e.g. Zeus Chthonios, or Chthonian 


The fairy tale of the cinder-maid originated as an anti-ecclesiastical 
allegory repeated by real "fairies" that is, pagans. Ella was Hel, or 
Helle, daughter of Mother Earth, the Goddess with her regenerative 
fires reduced to cinders. Her ugly stepmother was the new church. Her 
ugly stepsisters were the church's darlings, the military aristocracy and 
the clergy. 

An early German version of the story said Cinderella's real mother 
the Earth, though dead, sent from her grave a fairy tree in answer to 
her daughter's prayer. This tree produced golden apples, fine clothes, 
and other gifts. Thus the "fairy godmother" of later versions seems to 
have been a ghost of the mother, the dispossessed Great Goddess in 
retirement underground. 1 

Beautified with her new riches, Cinderella won the "prince" 
(mankind), ever easily impressed by the display of finery. Their union 
was symbolized by fitting her foot into a shoe, a common sexual 
allegory. The Eleusinian Mysteries signified sacred marriage by 
working a phallic object in a woman's shoe. 2 The glass slipper perhaps 
stood for the Crystal Cave by which pagan heroes entered the uterine 

Like other secret medieval prophecies of the overthrow of the rich, 
powerful theocracy, the downfall of Cinderella's ugly stepmother and 
stepsisters may have been intended as a prophecy. 3 

1. Jung & von Franz, 127. 2. Graves, CM. 1, 94. 3. Tuchman, 41. 


Homeric "witch" able to transform men into sacrificial swine: a 
mythic picture of the transition from human to porcine sacrifices during 
the Hellenic period. Circe's isle of Aeaea was a funerary shrine. Its 
name meant "Wailing." Circe herself was the death-bird kirkos, falcon. 
From the same root came the Latin circus, originally an enclosure for 
funerary games. 1 



As the circle, or cirque, Circe was identical with Omphale of Lydia Circumcision 

with her cosmic spinning wheel: a fate-spinner, weaver of the Cleopatra VII 

destinies of men. 2 Homer called her Circe of the Braided Tresses, ^^__ 

hinting that, like Oriental goddesses, she manipulated forces of 
creation and destruction by the knots and braids in her hair. She ruled 
all the stars that determined men's fates. Pliny said Circe was a 
Goddess who "commanded all the lights of heaven." 3 

1. Lindsay, O.A., 239. 2. Graves, G.M. 2, 358. 3. Hawkins, 139. 


Symbolic version of the sacrifice of virility to a deity, as practiced in 
Egypt, Persia, and the Middle East. Originally an imitation of menstrua- 
tion, performed at puberty on boys who were dressed up as girls for 
the occasion. 1 Circumcision came to be regarded as a sacrifice pleasing 
to a male deity, when it was viewed as a substitute for castration. 


Clare, Saint var. Saint Claire 

Mythical saint constructed from the title of the Celtic Goddess, 
Sinclair, "Sacred Light." ' The original form remained, as a popular 

1. Hitching, 212. 

Cleopatra VII 

One of the last Goddess-queens of Egypt, Cleopatra followed the 
precedent of Egyptian rulers in general and turned herself into a 
divinity. At an Alexandrian festival she "assumed the robe of Isis and 
was addressed as the New Isis." ' 

Though she was not a native Egyptian, but one of the Macedo- 
nian family of Ptolemies, Cleopatra exercised the ancient 
prerogatives of Egyptian queens. Julius Caesar became her lover be- 
cause it was the only way he could annex Egypt to the Roman 
provinces. By time-honored law, no man could exercise political power 
in Egypt unless he loved its queen. 

Some of Cleopatra's less eminent lovers lasted only one night and 
paid with their lives for a single taste of her love. 2 The custom seems 
to have been adopted by later male rulers of Arabia, to judge by the 
gynocidal sultan of the Arabian Nights. The thinking behind this 
custom remains mysterious. It may be that men who lay with the queen 
(and therefore with the Goddess herself) were believed to gain 
immortality thereby, for any man who coupled with a Goddess would 
become a God. Sacred marriage, followed by death and deification, 
formed the basic pattern of many ancient Mysteries. 



When her son Caesarion was born, Cleopatra built herself a 
mammisi or "birth temple" for the worship of her own maternity. In 
the shrine she was pictured in the act of giving birth, assisted by the 
Seven Hathors. 3 Cleopatra's mammisi stood until the 19th century 
a.d., when it was described by travelers, but it disappeared in the past 
century. 4 

She also gave birth to the sun and moon, in the form of twins 
named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene Alexander-Sun and 
Cleopatra-Moon. 5 Perhaps these children represented her own mating 
with the solar god of Alexandria. 

1. Lindsay, O.A., 132. 2. Lederer, 323. 3. Budge, G.E. I, 161. 
4. Encyc. Brit, "Hermonthis." 5. Encyc. Brit, "Cleopatra." 

Pausanias Creek 
traveler and geographer 
of the 2nd century 
a.d. Living in a time of 
declining culture, he 
was inspired by a desire 
to describe the 
ancient sacred sites for 


From Greek kleitoris, "divine, famous, goddess-like." l Greek myth 
personified the phallus as Priapus and the clitoris as an Amazon queen 
named Kleite, ancestral mother of the Kleitae, a tribe of warrior 
women who founded a city in Italy. 2 In Corinth, Kleite was a princess 
"whom Artemis made grow tall and strong," an allegory of her 
erection. 3 Or, again, she was a nymph who loved the phallus of the sun 
god and always followed his motion with her "head" a transparently 
sexual metaphor. 4 In a bowdlerized version of the story she was 
transformed into a sunflower, turning to follow the motion of the sun 
across the sky. 

Pausanias said the Arcadian city of Clitor was sacred to Artemis, or 
to Demeter, and stood at the genital shrine of the earth, the 
headwaters of the Styx (or Alph). 5 The meaning of this geographical 
myth is made clear by the primitive belief that the Styx represented 
Mother Earth's menstrual blood, source and solvent of all things. In 
this place, too, the orgiastic priestesses of Artemis were "soothed" out 
of their frenzies; therefore the local omphalos must have signified the 
Goddess's clitoris instead of her navel. 

Later patriarchal society managed to ignore the clitoris. Since the 
Christian church taught that women should not experience sexual 
pleasure but should only endure intercourse for the sake of procreation, 
growing girls and boys alike were kept ignorant of female sexuality, 
insofar as possible. 6 Even physicians came to believe that no clitoris 
would be found on a virtuous woman. 

From medieval times onward, virtuous women rarely showed 
themselves naked to any man, even a husband; so it was perhaps not 
surprising that men should remain ignorant of the female anatomy they 
clumsily fumbled with in the dark. Pious married couples wore the 
chemise cagoule, a voluminous nightgown with a small hole in front, to 
allow impregnation with a minimum of body contact. 7 


At a witch trial in 1 593, the investigating gaoler (a married man) Clitoris 

apparently discovered a clitoris for the first time, and identified it as a 

devil's teat, sure proof of the witch's guilt. It was "a little lump of flesh, ^^^^^^^^^ 
in manner sticking out as if it had been a teat, to the length of half an 
inch," which the gaoler, "perceiving at the first sight thereof, meant not 
to disclose, because it was adjoining to so secret a place which was not 
decent to be seen; yet in the end, not willing to conceal so strange a 
matter," he showed it to various bystanders. 8 The bystanders had 
never seen anything like it either. The witch was convicted. 

European society certainly knew all about the penis, and never 
ceased to worship it, evert in Christian times (see Phallus Worship). 
Yet the clitoris was forgotten: 

Almost from the very beginning of our lives, we are all taught that the 
primary male sex organ is the penis, and the primary female sex organ 
is the vagina. These organs are supposed to define the sexes, to be the 
difference between boys and girls .... This is a lie ... . Woman 's 
sexual pleasure is often left out of these definitions. If people considered 
that the purpose of the female sex organs is to bring pleasure to 
women, then female sex would be defined by, and focused on, a different 
organ. Everyone would be taught from infancy that, as the primary 
male sex organ is the penis, so the primary female sex organ is the clitoris. 9 

Medical authorities in the 19th century seemed anxious to 
prevent women from discovering their own sexuality. Girls who learned 
to develop orgasmic capacity by masturbation, just as boys learned it, 
were regarded as medical problems. Often they were "treated" or 
"corrected" by amputation or cautery of the clitoris, or "miniature 
chastity belts, sewing the vaginal lips together to put the clitoris out of 
reach, and even castration by surgical removal of the ovaries. But 
there are no references in the medical literature to surgical removal of 
testicles or amputation of the penis to stop masturbation (in boys)." 10 

In the United States, the last recorded clitoridectomy for curing 
masturbation was performed in 1948 on a five-year-old girl. 11 

The Catholic church's definition of masturbation as "a grave 
moral disorder" in 1976 may have incorporated fears of the effect of 
masturbation on female orgasmic capacity, now well known to evolve 
through masturbatory experience the same as that of a male. 12 Less 
than a century ago, in the Victorian era, priests and doctors realized that 
"the total repression of woman's sexuality was crucial to ensure her 
subjugation." Leading authorities like Dr. Isaac Brown Baker per- 
formed many clitoridectomies to cure women's nervousness, hysteria, 
catalepsy, insanity, female dementia, and other catchwords for symp- 
toms of sexual frustration. 13 

I. Young, 47. 2. Bachofen, 283. 3. Graves, G.M. 2, 26. 4. Hamilton, 291. 

5. Graves, W.G., 405-6. 6. Simons, 141. 7. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 25. 
8. Rosen, 296-97. 9. Gornick & Moran, 292-93. 10.Gornick&Moran,293. 

I I. Ehrenreich & English, 1 11. 12. Newsweek, Jan. 26, 1976. 13. Nobile, 223-24. 


Clotho Clotho 

Col urn ba, Saint 

"The Spinner," first of the Greek Moerae or Fates; She Who Spins 
the Thread of Life. The same name was applied to Isis in her "terrible' 
aspect as a creator-destroyer. 1 Clotho's thread was sometimes golden, 
but more often blood red. 
1. Neumann, G.M., 162. 


"Divine Wooing," or Sacred Marriage; the last matriarchal queen of 
Mycenae, slain by her son Orestes, a worshipper of the patriarchal god 
Apollo. Clytemnestra claimed a queen's traditional right to choose 
her consort, and have each new one slay the old one. Thus she arrangec 
to have her husband Agamemnon slain by her latest lover, Aegisthus, 
whose name means Strong Goat. 1 

Aegisthus had the right mythic prerequisites for a sacred king. He 
was born of an incestuous union. His mother Pelopia was a Goddess 
of Clytemnestra's clan, the Pelopids. In infancy he was abandoned to 
the wild, was rescued, and, like Zeus himself, was nourished by a she- 
goat. 2 He was prepared to be a god on earth. 

Orestes spoiled it by killing his mother and her lover, calling down 
on himself the inexpiable curse of miasma for his matricide. The 
Furies pursued him, but the god Apollo defended him, on the ground 
that motherhood was not real parenthood. "The mother is no parent 
of that which is called her child, but only nurse of the new-planted seed 
that grows. The parent is he who mounts." 3 This Apollonian view of 
parenthood was also the Christian view, even subsequent to 1827 a.d. 
when Karl von Baer first discovered the human ovum, gigantic in 
size and complexity as compared to a spermatozoon. 

1. Graves, G.M. 2, 377. 2. Gaster, 224. 3. Bachofen, 159. 


"Lady of the Serpent Skirt," mother of all Aztec deities as well as of 
the sun, the moon, and the stars. She produced all earthly life, and 
received the dead back again into her body. She was associated with 
volcanic mountains. Like Kali she wore a necklace of skulls, and a skirt 
of either serpents or shorn penises of her castrated savior-lovers. Her 
daughter Xochiquetzal, the Mexican Aphrodite, was a Goddess of All 

Columba, Saint 

"Holy Dove," a spurious canonization of Aphrodite as a "maiden 
martyr" Columba of Sens. 1 Celtic myth called her Colombe, the yoni- 


maiden mated to Lancelot as a lightning bolt, the 'hallus of Heaven 2 Conscience 

See Lightning. Constantinel 

1. Attwater, 92. 2. Malory 1, 377. 


"Knowing-together," a word coined by Stoic philosophers who said 
deity is found only within the human mind. Socrates's famous dictum 
"Know thyself" was a Stoic aphorism for knowing God. Fusing 
divinity with self produced "conscience." Thus the philosophers said 
any dictate of one's own conscience was inevitably holy and right. 1 
The concept grew from Oriental teachings about the identity of man 
with God, woman with Goddess. See Antinomianism. 
1. Angus, 207-8. 

Constantine I 

The "first Christian emperor" (288?-337), honored for establishing 
Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. Actually, 
Constantine didn't do this in his own lifetime; his bishops did it 
afterward. Constantine was not so much a worshipper of Christ as he 
was a worshipper of himself. 

Constantine considered himself the incarnation of "the supreme 
god," a combination of Apollo, Mithra, Jupiter, the sun, and Christ. 
He called himself "the instrument of the Deity." He said, "I banished 
and utterly abolished every form of evil then prevailing, in the hope 
that the human race, enlightened through me, might be called to a 
proper observance of God's holy laws." He designated for his tomb a 
spot in the center of the cruciform Church of the Holy Apostles, saying 
he would lie forever with six apostles at his left hand and six at his 
right. A contemporary historian said Constantine was "more greedy for 
praise than it is possible to tell." ' 

He supported freedom of worship in his empire for the wrong 
reason: so that no god would be offended enough to take revenge on 
him personally. He issued edicts of toleration for all religions, so that 
"we should give to Christians and to everyone else the right freely to 
follow whatever religion they chose, so that, whatever divinity is 
enthroned in heaven may be well-disposed and propitious towards 
me." He tried to restrain Christian fanatics from persecuting pagans, 
Jews, and heretics, writing in an encyclical letter to Bishop Eusebius 
of Nicomedia that these others must be "assured of the same degree of 
peace and tranquility" as orthodox Christians. 2 The orthodox Chris- 
tians did not agree, and soon after Constantine's death they instituted 
extensive persecutions and crusades extending over the next three 


Constantine I Constantine did his best for the church. In one year he obtained 

twelve thousand converts by the simple offer of a new garment and 
^ mm ^^^^^^m twenty gold pieces to each person who embraced the faith. 3 But he did 
as much for other cults too. He didn't become a Christian himself 
until the final weeks of his life, when he accepted baptism on his 
deathbed, as insurance for his after-life. 

Constantine's life was hardly a model of piety. He murdered his 
eldest son, his second wife, his father-in-law, his brother-in-law, and 
"many others," a chronicler said. His first wife, Minervina evidently a 
priestess of the Moon-goddess Minerva mysteriously disappeared. 
No one knows what became of her. His second wife Fausta was his 
stepping-stone to the throne, according to the ancient rule of the 
hieros gamos. Eulogists at the wedding said, "The title of sovereignty 
has now accrued to thee, O Constantine, through thy father-in- 
law." 4 There being no law of primogeniture, the throne still passed 
through the female line. 

To eliminate a potential rival, Constantine killed his eldest son 
Crispus, born of the vanished Minervina. Afterward he accused 
Fausta of having had a love affair with her now-deceased stepson, along 
with other adulterous affairs, and killed her; it seems that any lover 
the empress took was still a threat to the emperor's political position. 5 

The murdered Crispus might have played the role of savior and 
sacred king, for after his death he was virtually canonized as a 
"blessed martyr." Churches in Greece were dedicated to him for over a 
millenium. "During the period of the Turkish occupation of Greece, 
over a thousand years later, he was still remembered as the Caesar, the 
hero-prince, the Christian Theseus, as it were, founder of the 
modern Greek nation." 6 Yet Crispus was neither a Caesar nor a 

Christian bishops eventually convinced Constantine that their God 
would forgive his crimes and enthrone him in heaven. When he felt 
death approaching, he said to them: "The salvation which I have 
earnestly desired of God these many years I do now expect. It is time 
therefore that we should be sealed and signed in the badge of immortal- 
ity." 7 So he was baptized, and died in the confident expectation of a 
glorious resurrection. 

His literary whitewashing began at once. Despite his two wives and 
numerous concubines, Christian panegyrists said he was "wedded to 
chastity." 8 Eusebius elevated all the emperor's doings into acts of piety, 
and invented the legend that Christ had converted him with a holy 
vision at the Milvian bridge. Later Christian legend claimed Constan- 
tine saw the sign of the cross in the sky, with the words in hoc signo 
vinces (in this sign conquer). However, the holy sign that Constantine 
placed on his battle flags was not the cross. It was the labarum, a 
monogram of Mithra and a sign of the sun, already in use by several 
pagan emperors before Constantine. 9 

As an example of Constantine's Christian mercy, Cedrenus re- 


corded that once when he was ill, he collected a number of children Convent 

to kill them and bathe in their blood as a healing charm. However, 

moved by their mothers' tears, the emperor spared the children's lives ^^^^^__^^_ 

after all, and "the saints" restored his health as a reward for this act of 

mercy. 10 No one seemed inclined to criticize him for contemplating 

the massacre in the first place. 

Constantine's luminous example showed that Christian magic 
could prevent port-mortem punishment for a ruthless life. "Future 
tyrants were encouraged to believe," says Gibbon, "that the innocent 
blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly be 
washed away in the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion 
dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue." n 

Christianity served all the emperors after him, with the sole 
exception of Julian "the Apostate," much vilified by the church for 
suspending the persecutions of pagans and trying to restore the culture 
of classical Rome. But Julian died young; some said he was assassinat- 
ed by a Christian. 12 The war against paganism proceeded. Beginning 
about 330 a.d., pagan shrines were looted and stripped of their gold, 
silver, and bronze treasures, many of which were carried off to decorate 
Constantine's greatest monument to himself, the city of Constantino- 
ple. 1? As Eusebius gleefully described the process: "The lurking-places 
of the heretics were broken up . . . and the savage beasts which they 
harbored were put to flight." H 

Constantine's edicts of toleration were rescinded after his death. 
The new imperial religion attacked its rivals in a show of intolerance 
on a grander scale than had ever been seen before. It was a great 
success. "Forty years after the death of Constantine, the church had 
already acquired a tenth of the whole of the landed property in Rome's 
western empire, a figure that in western Europe rose to a third during 
the middle ages. . . . The church since the time of Constantine affords 
proof that it is not spiritual truth that has triumphed with the spread of 
Christianity but human power." 15 

I. J.H. Smith, C.G., 182, 235-36, 262. 2. Ibid., 123, 183. 3. Gibbon 1, 654-55. 
4.J.H.Smith,C.G.,27,71. 5. Ibid., 210. 6. Ibid., 215-16. 7.Doane,446. 

8. J.H. Smith, C.G, 39. 9. Encyc. Brit, "Flag." 10. Leland, 240. 

I I . Gibbon 1 , 654. 1 2. de Voragine, 131. 1 3. J.H. Smith, C.G, 232. 
14.Legge2,220. 15. Augstein, 299. 


Medieval institution evolved from the pagan "college" of priestesses 
or virgines that is, unmarried women (not necessarily physical virgins) 
dedicated to divine service. 

Early convents were double: a community of male monks united 
with female priestesses under the rule of an abbess, usually a 
landowning noblewoman. 1 "Priests and monks together with the nuns 
took vows of obedience to the abbess in imitation of the obedience of 
Jesus to his mother." A 10th-century Saxon chronicle speaks of double 


Convent convents inhabited by "priests of both sexes," although in a transla- 

tion it was revised to read, "priests of both orders." 2 
m ^^^^^^^^^^ m As Christian laws encroached on women's property rights, many 

women of noble rank took vows to remain single, so as to protect 
their wealth from the claims of husbands. Thus originated the so-called 
convent of noble ladies, an independent mini-queendom. For exam- 
ple, the Saxon convent of Gandersheim in the 9th century held 
overlordship directly from the king. The abbess conducted her own 
courts of law, kept her own seat in the imperial parliament, and 
maintained her own standing army. 3 Culture and learning were 
pursued. This convent trained the poetess Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, 
called "a Sappho, deserving to rank with the fabled Veleda and 
Aurinia, ancient German poet-priestesses." 4 

In the 7th century, a papal bull confirmed the rights of freedom 
from taxation and from episcopal jurisdiction of the Parthenon of 
Beatae Mariae et Sanctae Columbae et Agathae (Virgin-house of 
Blessed Marys and Holy Doves and Kindly Ones). Abbesses of Las 
Huelgas ruled sixty towns, had the right to license bishops and priests 
within their dioceses, to confer benefices on clergy of their own 
choice, to nominate ecclesiastical judges, to hear criminal cases among 
their subjects, and to establish new parishes. Bishops and apostolic 
delegates were forbidden to visit churches, parishes, clergy, or beneficia- 
ries in the abbess's territory. The nuns remained exempt from 
episcopal jurisdiction all the way up to 1874. 5 

Ancient goddess-queens were described as "abbesses" in Christian 
histories, to disguise the real nature of the pagan matriarchate that 
backed them. Such a one was St. Odilia or Ottilia, called the abbess of 
Odilienberg (Hohenburg), a pilgrimage shrine of Alsace that was her 
own Holy Mountain. 6 Her legend had no documentary basis. 7 She was 
fraudulently canonized, only to attract her votaries to Christianity. 

Many abbesses retained their pagan title of High Priestess 
Sacerdos Maxima especially in the German convents. At Quedlin- 
burg the abbess was "in control of the whole town, its people, churches, 
hospitals, clergy, canons and canonesses, and all religious orders." 
She was not only High Priestess, but also Superior Canoness of the 
Cathedral, Metropolitana (mayor), and Matricia (matriarch). At St. 
Mary's Uberwasser in Munster, the abbess's title was Prima domna et 
matre nostra spirituale, "Mistress-Leader and Our Spiritual Mother." 
Cistercian monks at Las Huelgas swore obedience to the abbess as "the 
Illustrious Lady ... my Prelate, and my Lady, Superior, Mother and 
legitimate administrator in spiritual and temporal affairs of the Royal 
Monastery and its Hospital." 8 

Some centuries earlier, the Latin title of Sacerdos Maxima meant a 
high priestess of the Great Mother of the Gods. She was assisted by 
lesser priestesses known as ministra, "ministers." The word "sodality" 
came from Latin sodales, a college of dancing priestesses trained in 
the Great Mother's temple. 9 


That women in convents long retained the sexual freedom of the Convent 

ancient priestesses is shown by interchangeable use of the words 

"convent" and "brothel" in medieval times. Nicholas Clemangis said ^^^^^^-^^ 

the monasteries were not so much sanctuaries of God as they were 
"abodes of Venus." 10 

The word nun originally meant a nurse, that is, a priestess of a 
healing shrine, like the "nymphs" in colleges of Hygeia and Panacea 
in pagan Greece. That the convents continued to function as hospitals 
is suggested by medieval romances: wounded, sick, or dying folk were 
usually cared for by "nuns." n The word also meant a virgin mother in 
Germanic paganism. A cognate was Nana, virgin mother of the god 

Sometimes, pagan queens established convents in order to have 
themselves canonized, just as Roman emperors were made gods by 
virtue of their religious leadership. The canon of saints includes several 
pagan queens whose only claim to beatitude was wealth, which 
bought the jurisdiction of an abbey and its subject lands. Some of the 
queen-saints were even distinctly hostile to churchmen, like Queen 
Bathild, foundress of a druidic convent at Chelles in the 7th century. 
She was the real ruler of the western Franks, having placed her son 
Chlotar on the throne. Certain bishops who tried to interfere with her 
were assassinated. In the end she was "unceremoniously" removed 
from power by Christian nobles, and apparently murdered as a heretic, 
though her subjects maintained her cult and called her Saint 
Bathild. 12 

In Bede's time, Queen Ethelreda was ordained High Priestess of 
Ely, and was succeeded by other supreme abbesses governing the 
monastery's beatarum regimine feminarum (holy order of women) up 
to the Danish invasion in 866. The abbey of Wherwell was founded 
by Queen Elfrida in 986; it was exempt from earthly services, and held 
many territories and churches. 13 

Another pagan princess who founded a convent in the 7th century 
and was canonized, was St. Wereburg of the royal house of Mercia, 
ruler of the city of Chester. Her establishment was specifically for 
"noble women" refusing to give up their property to husbands. St. 
Wereburg was canonized centuries later, on the strength of a legend 
that her holy bones had extinguished the fires set in the city of 
Chester by marauding Danes. 14 

St. Hild, or Hilda, of the royal house of Northumberland, estab- 
lished one of the most famous double monasteries of Anglo-Saxon 
times at Hartlepool, the "Isle of Stags." Her influence extended over all 
England. She created bishops and abbots, favoring especially the 
poet-missionaries of Celtic background. Bede said "all who knew her 
called her Mother." 15 Since she bore the name of the pagan Great 
Mother Hild, or Hel, one might wonder about the real basis of her 
authority, in a century when a majority of people had not yet heard of 
Christianity. 16 


Convent Even when convents became Christianized, abbesses were still 

ordained like bishops, and in some areas held more secular power than 

^^^^ Bi ^^^^ M bishops, though church histories have tried to conceal this, sometimes 
through deliberate falsification of the records. For instance, a papal bull 
said the abbess of the Cassian foundation in Marseilles was "or- 
dained"; a later editor changed the word to "blessed." At Jouarre, 
Quedlinburg, Conversano, and other places, an abbess held supreme 
jurisdiction over both clergy and laity in her territory. According to the 
Rule of St. Donatus, abbesses functioning as Matris Spirituale (Spiri- 
tual Mother) regularly heard confessions. French ecclesiastical records 
say abbesses gave absolution by imposition of their hands on the 
heads of men. 17 

The church began to encroach on the rights of convents in the 
12th and 13th centuries, devising ways to appropriate the nuns' 
property and make them subject to male clergy. At Fontevrault, 
canonesses preceded the monks in processions, carried the pastoral 
cross, preached, read the Gospel, and heard confessions. Pope Innocent 
III deprived them of these privileges. Disagreements arose between 
male and female clergy. Monks insisted they would no longer genuflect 
every time they passed the abbess. Nuns reacted by refusing to kneel 
in the confessional before their brothers. Innocent III also commanded 
the abbess of Jouarre, her clergy, and her layfolk to subject them- 
selves to the authority of the bishop of Meaux. When the abbess asked 
for time to prove her right to independence, she and all her 
community were excommunicated. Decrees of the Council of Trent 
changed church laws to say women's orders must be taken over and 
supervised by men's orders. 18 

Considerable bitterness accompanied sexual segregation of the 
double convents, judging from the letter of Abbot Conrad of March- 
tal, on barring women from his order: 

We and our whole community of canons, recognizing that the wickedness 
of women is greater than all other wickedness of the world, and there is 
no anger like that of women, and that the poison of asps and dragons is 
more curable and less dangerous for men than the familiarity of 
women, have unanimously decreed for the safety of our souls, no less than 
for that of our bodies and goods, that we will on no account receive any 
more sisters to the increase of our perdition, but will avoid them like 
poisonous animals. ,9 

Convents had been centers of higher learning for women in an 
age when women were forbidden access to schools and universities. 
Earlier in the medieval period, girls as well as boys attended ecclesias- 
tical schools in Ireland and learned to read and write; but this practice 
was later forbidden, the schools being kept only for males. 20 Premon- 
stratensian and Cistercian orders were famed as educators of women, 
until the Council of Trent ruled that women's orders must be taken 
over by men's orders. 21 Then Cistercian nuns were forbidden to 
establish any more teaching convents. 22 

Nuns were further commanded not to teach or discuss theological 


matters. This was used as a device for outlawing their orders and Convent 

confiscating their property. It served as an excuse for the Council of 

Vienne to deprive the teaching nuns called Beguines of their lands 

and houses, in 1 3 1 2 when monks of the Inquisition demanded them: 

We have been told that certain women commonly called Beguines, 
afflicted by a kind of madness, discuss the Holy Trinity and the divine 
essence, and express opinions on matters of faith and sacraments. 
Since these women promise no obedience to anyone and do not 
renounce their property or profess an approved Rule . . . fw]e have there- 
fore decided and declared with the approval of the Council that their 
way of life is to be permanently forbidden and altogether excluded from 
the Church of God. 2 * 

The Beguines were forced to integrate into orders approved by 
the pope, where they would receive no education. Their properties 
were taken over by the Inquisition to provide dwellings and prisons 
for the inquisitors' use. 24 

From the 1 2th century on, there was increasing pressure on 
convents to adopt rules of close confinement, to keep nuns segregat- 
ed from the outside world. The canonesses of St. Mary's Uberwasser 
rebelled three times against the imposition of the Benedictine Rule, 
which would force them into seclusion. 25 Many convents were threat- 
ened with excommunication, dissolution, or even prosecution by the 
Inquisition to force them to accept strict seclusion and to cease develop- 
ing the sisters' minds. 

Early in the 17th century, teacher Mary Ward tried to found a 
Catholic order of teaching nuns known as the English Ladies, to 
provide education for girls. She and her sisters refused to submit to the 
cloister, so Mary was arrested and accused of heresy. Her order was 
suppressed in 1629. Pope Urban VIII rebuked them: "Certain women, 
taking the name of Jesuitesses, assembled and living together, built 
colleges, and appointed superiors and a General, assumed a peculiar 
habit without the approbation of the Holy See . . . carried out works 
by no means suiting the weakness of their sex, womanly modesty, 
virginal purity." 26 With typically patriarchal reasoning, the English 
Ladies were punished for doing what women were supposed to be 
unable to do. 

A few convents managed to hold on to their pre-patriarchal 
independence. The clergy failed to turn out the canonesses of St. 
Waudru, at Mons. Monks of Fontevrault likewise failed to take over the 
main church or the nuns' house, and were obliged to continue to vow 
obedience to the abbesses, up to the French Revolution. 27 

1. Encyc. Brit., "Women in Religious Orders." 2. Morris, 45, 132. 

3. Bullough, 158. 4. Borchardt, 107. 5. Morris, 18, 85-86. 6. Gifford, 133. 

7. Attwater, 257. 8. Morris, 58-65, 89. 9. Vermaseren, 57, 109. 

1 0. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 24. 11. Funk, 28 1 . 12. Attwater, 60. 

13. Morris, 25-26. 14. Brewster, 93. 1 5. Attwater, 170. 

16. Brewster, 490; Encyc. Brit, "Hilda." 17. Morris, 19, 71, 142. 

18. Morris, 48, 76, 37, 149. 19. Bullough, 160. 20. Joyce 1, 410. 21. Morris, 157. 

22. Bullough, 191. 23. Bullough, 163. 24. Lea, 226. 25. Morris, 29. 

26. Bullough, 208. 27. Morris, 149. 


Cornelius, Saint Cornelius, Saint 


"Horned One," fictitious saint said to have given curative magic to 
the site of Mont St. Michel. Its counterpart across the English Channel 
St. Michael's Mount, was a shrine of the legendary Trojan hero 
Corineus, first ruler of Cornwall. His Breton name was Cornelius. 1 He 
may have been derived from the Horned God, Cernunnos. Corineus 
was said to have conquered the last of the giants, Goemagot (Gog- 
Magog), and thrown him into the Channel. 
1. Pepper &Wilcock, 193,203. 

Corona, Saint 

Spurious canonization of the phrase sancta corona, Divine Crown, 
an early Christian term for martyrdom; perhaps confused with the 
Goddess Coronis, virgin mother of the physician-god Asclepius. 

var. Cottyto, CotyS 


Thracian Moon-goddess whose son, the giant Cottus of the Hundred 
Hands, stood for her collegium of fifty priests or priestesses. 1 Theocritu 
called her "the crone, Cottytaris, that piped of yore to the reapers in 
Hippocoon's field." 2 Since Christians vilified her Edonian rites as devil 
worship, she was listed as one of the demons in medieval texts on 

1. Graves, CM. 1, 32, 108. 2. Halliday, 36. 


"Mother of Covens," a popular name for the Celtic Goddess as 
patron of healing wells and springs. 1 A coven of thirteen was said to 
represent the thirteen lunar months. The word may have come from 
Moorish-Spanish-Basque kaftan, a ceremonial robe worn at sacred 
dances performed in groups of thirteen. 2 Naturally, during witch 
persecutions the name Coventina was applied to all forms of the 

1. Phillips, 1 12. 2. Ravensdale & Morgan, 153. 


Perhaps the most common manifestation of the Great Mother as 
Preserver was the white, horned, milk-giving Moon-cow, still sacred in 
India as a symbol of Kali. Egypt revered Mother Hathor as the 
heavenly cow whose udder produced the Milky Way, whose body was 


the firmament, and who daily gave birth to the sun, Horus-Ra, her 
Golden Calf, the same deity worshipped by Aaron and the Israelites: 
"These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land 
of Egypt" (Exodus 32:4). 

The name of Italy meant "calf-land." ! This country too was the 
gift of the Milk-giver, whom Etruscans called Lat, Arabs called Al- 
Lat, Greeks called Latona, Lada, Leto, or Leda. She ruled Latium, and 
gave her milk (Jatte) to the world. 

All Europe was named after the Goddess as a white Moon-cow, 
whom the Greeks mated to the white bull incarnation of Zeus. Her 
alternative name was Io, "Moon." Under this name she was presented 
in classic mythology as a rival of Hera, but patriarchal writers were 
always setting different manifestations of the same Goddess at odds with 
one another, possibly on the principle of divide and conquer. Hera 
herself was named Io, ancestress of the Ionians. In her temple on the 
site of Byzantium she appeared as the same lunar cow, the Horned 
One, wearing the same crescent headdress as the Egyptian Cow- 
goddess. 2 

The Cow as creatress was equally prominent in myths of northern 
Europe, where she was named Audumla; she was also Freya, or a 
Valkyrie taking the form of a "fierce cow." 6 A semi-patriarchal Norse 
myth tried to attribute the creation of the world to the giant Ymir, 
whose body and blood made the universe. But he was not the first of 
creatures. The Cow preceded him, for he lived on her milk. 7 

Earlier myths showed the universe being "curdled" into shape 
from the Cow's milk. In India, many still believe literally the creation 
myth known as Churning of the Sea of Milk. 8 The Japanese version 
said the primordial deep went "curdlecurdle" (koworokoworo) when 
stirred by the first deities, to make clumps of land. 9 The ancient Near 
East thought human bodies too were curdled from the Goddess's 
milk. One of her liturgies was copied into the Bible: "Has thou not 
poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?" (Job 10:10). 

The root of "cow" was Sanskrit Gau, Egyptian kau or kau-t. 
Goddess-names like Gauri and Kauri also designated the yonic 
cowrie shell. 10 Brahman rebirth ceremonies used either a huge golden 
yoni or an image of the Cow-mother. "When a man has for grave 
cause been expelled from his caste, he may be restored to it after passing 
several times under the belly of a cow." u The Egyptian Goddess as 
birth-giver typically wore a cow's head or horns, as she offered her 
breasts with both hands. 12 As the nursing mother who gave each 
Egyptian his secret soul-name (re/7), she was entitled Renenet, the Lady 
of the Double Granary, a reference to her inexhaustible breasts. 13 
The bovine enzyme rennet, used even in antiquity to curdle milk, was 
also sacred to her. 

A favorite Roman emblem of the Goddess was the Cornucopia, 
Horn of Plenty: a cow's horn pouring forth all the fruits of the earth. 
The cow was honored as the wetnurse of humanity, and her image is 


Herodotus said the 
milk-giving Mother 
Hera-Io-Latona was 
the same as Egypt's 
Buto, "an archaic 
queen of the Lower 
Kingdom." 5 The 
holy city of Buto, 
Egypt's oldest 
oracular shrine, was 
known to the Greeks 
as Latopolis, "city of 
Lat." 4 Of course 
Buto, or Lat, was only 
another name for 
Hathor, or Isis, or Mut, 
or Neith; all 
represented "the great 
cow which gave birth 
to Ra, the great 
goddess, the mother 
of all the gods ... the 
Cow, the great lady, 
lady of the south, the 
great one who gave 
birth to the sun, who 
made the germ of 
gods and men, the 
mother of Ra, who 
raised up Tern in 
primeval time, who 
existed when nothing 
else had being, and 
who created that which 
exists." 5 


Cowrie still inadvertently invoked to this day as an expletive Holy Cow, or a 

pejorative Sacred Cow. 

^^^^^^^^^^_ 1. Thomson, 50. 2. Elworthy, 183, 194. 3. Lamusse, 29. 4. Herodotus, 106. 

^^^^^^^^^^ 5. Budge, G.E. 1, 457-58, 463. 6. Turville-Petre, 256. 7. Lamusse, 248. 

8. 0'Flaherty, 274. 9. Campbell, Or.M., 467. 10. Waddell, 404. 

1 1. Frazer, F.O.T., 220-22. 12. Neumann, G.M., pi. 9. 

13. Lamusse, 38; H. Smith, 24. 


Its name derived from Kauri, who was the same as Kali-Cunti, Yoni 
of the Universe, the cowrie shell everywhere represented the divine 
vulva and usually conveyed the idea of rebirth. Skeletons from the 
Solutrean period, ca. 20,000 B.C., have been found "lavishly decorated 
with cowrie shells." l 

Egyptians decorated sarcophagi with cowrie shells as a rebirth 
charm. Cowries are still prized throughout the east for their supposed 
healing and regenerative powers. Cowrie necklaces are valued in India 
as amulets against the evil eye. 2 Moslem women believe cowries 
should be worn on the body during pregnancy. The Japanese keep 
cowries in wardrobe cabinets "for luck"; if no cowries are available, 
pornographic pictures of female genitals serve as a substitute. 5 Gypsies 
valued a cowrie above all other kinds of protective amulets. 4 Chris- 
tianized natives of the Sudan consider a strip of leather stamped with the 
sign of the cross a valuable amulet; but it is not "strong magic" unless 
nine cowrie shells are attached to it. 5 

Romans called the cowrie shell matriculus, "little matrix," symbol 
of an Alma Mater (soul-mother) or teaching priestess, which is why a 
student still "matriculates" into instruction. The Roman Alma Mater 
taught the philosophy of love as well as the love of philosophy. Unlike 
Christians, the pagans believed the capacity for heterosexual love 
required careful nurture and training. 

Sometimes the Romans called a cowrie porcelk, "little sow," 
because it stood for the Goddess who was the Great Sow, like 
Demeter, Astarte, Ceres, Freya, Cerridwen, etc. From porcelk came 
"porcelain," so called because of its resemblance to the white glazed 
surface of the shell. 6 A Greek word for the cowrie was kteis, which also 
meant a scallop, a comb, and a vulva. 7 

The extreme antiquity of cowrie symbolism in the Middle East is 
shown by the ancestor-skulls preserved by the people of Jericho in the 
7th millenium b.c. These forerunners of the Jewish teraphim were 
severed from the body, provided with features of painted plaster, and 
made to "see" with the eyes of cowrie shells. 8 

Speaking of the Melanesians' and Polynesians' reverence for 
cowries, a missionary, Rev. George Brown, wrote, "There is some 
sacredness about them, but what it is, is not at all clear. The natives will 
not talk about them at all." 9 It seems likely that the natives he 


nentioned had already become well aware that there was no use talking Crab 

about sexual symbols to missionaries. Creation 

1. Campbell, P.M., 376. 2. Gifford, 79. 3. Briffault 3, 277-78 4 Trigg 43 

5. Budge AT ', 352. 6. Leland, 102. 7. Lindsay, A.W., 1 32. 8. Whitehouse, 168. ^^"^^ 

9. Briffault 3, 275. 


ie peculiar significance of Cancer, the Crab, in ancient astrology 
is that it presaged the coming of the end of the world. Chaldeans 
elieved the world would dissolve and return to its primordial 
ements when all the planets lined up in the constellation of the Crab, 
ie same doctrine appeared in India, Egypt, Persia, China, northern 
Lurope, and pre-Columbian central America. 1 

The sign of the Crab was particularly associated with water and the 
m, both typically representative of the Great Goddess who was 
apposed to bring all things to their doom. 2 
1. Campbell, M.I., 149. 2. Gertings, 95. 

Crann Bethadh 

In Celtic myth, the phallic Tree of Life, planted in the yonic shrine at 
the center of the earth; comparable to Yggdrasil, the Stone of Fal, 
Irminsul, the axis mundi, and many other versions of the cosmic 


Myths of creation generally present a symbolic view of birth. Condi- 
tions before creation suggest the uterine environment: darkness, liquid, 
stirring or churning movement, the "eternal flux" associated with the 
blood of the Mother (Kali's Ocean of Blood, for example). Often there 
is a suggestion of one entity inside another. "When there was neither 
the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth, and 
when darkness was enveloped in Darkness, then the Mother, the 
Formless One, Maha-Kali, the Great Power, was one with Maha-Kala, 
the Absolute." x 

The Bible's highly derivative version says "the earth was without 
form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the Deep" 
(Genesis 1:2). The Deep was the Mother's womb, tehom, derived from 
Tiamat, the Babylonian name of the primordial Goddess. In Egypt, 
she was Temu, mother of the abyssal elements: Water, Darkness, 
Night, and Eternity. 2 

Most creation myths speak of a splitting or opening in the dark, 
formless Mother. The beginning of the existing world is signaled by 



Jean Astruc 1 8th- 
century French 
Catholic physician 
and scholar. 

the coming of light. Romans made the connection with birth quite 
clear: Juno Lucina was not only a creatress, but also the Mother who 
brought "light" to the eyes of the newborn. 3 The biblical God who said 
"Let there be light" (Fiat lux) copied the word of the Goddess. 

The prominence given everywhere to that moment of light sug- 
gests archetypal memories of the first impact of light on newborn eyes 
which have never seen light before. Like dreams of the individual 
unconscious, myths of the collective unconscious reveal hidden 
memories of the birth trauma. "Locked up in the depths of our 
unconscious mind is the terrific impact of birth, the violent adventure 
that uprooted our pre-natal world." 4 It is also locked up in the symbol- 
ism of myths, projected onto a cosmic scale. 

Creation/birth was inseparable from the figure of the Mother. The 
oldest myths made her the divider of waters, maker of heaven and 
earth. When a god came into the picture, he was at first only her 
subordinate consort, one of the beings she had created: sometimes a 
disembodied phallus, in the form of a serpent. Late Egyptian gods who 
claimed to be creators never succeeded in ridding themselves of 
feminine imagery. For instance, Khepera insisted that he created the 
universe alone, "there was no other being who worked with me." Yet 
he had to say, "I laid a foundation in Maa," meaning the Great Womb, 
the Goddess Maat. 5 

Often it is said when the god was allowed to create, he became 
puffed up with pride, and began to ignore his Mother and claim sole 
authorship of the universe. This angered the Goddess. She punished 
him, bruised his head with her heel, and sent him down to the 
underworld. 6 (See Eve.) Sumerian creation myths said when the 
Goddess's son-spouse began to show signs of hubris she laid the curse 
of exile on him, saying, "Henceforth thou shalt dwell neither in heaven 
nor on earth." 7 This raises all kinds of questions about Middle- 
Eastern sacrificial gods who died in expiation of a primal sin, hung on 
trees or crosses "between heaven and earth." 

Gnostic creation myths of the early Christian era were still telling 
versions in which the female principle was pre-eminent, which is why 
they were declared uncanonical. "In his madness," Jehovah claimed to 
be the only God, because he had forgotten the Mother who brought 
him into being, according to one source. The Mother of Gods was 
angry that he had impiously sinned against her, and against her other 
children, the male and female Immortal Ones. These were the elohim 
of the Book of Genesis. God grouped himself with them, calling the 
group "us" (Genesis 3:22). But Bible revisions tended to erase earlier 
deities, especially female ones. After the centuries of choosing and 
revising canonical books, nearly every trace of female divinity had been 
eliminated from Christian literature. 8 

As long ago as 1753, Astruc recognized that the Book of Genesis 


contains at least two mutually contradictory versions of the creation Creation 
nyth. One version the scholars call E, for it speaks of plural creators, 

lohim, male and female deities. Another version is J, for Jehovah _^____^^^_ 

tlohim, the God of gods. The two versions disagree in many points: *^^^^^^^^ 

E: birds and beasts created before man. 
J: man created before birds and beasts. 

E: birds made of water, along with fishes. 
J: birds made of earth, along with beasts. 

E: man given dominion over the whole earth. 
J: man placed only in the garden, "to dress it and keep it," like the 
men created to be farmer-slaves in the Sumerian original. 

E: man and woman created together, after the beasts: "male and 
emale created he (they) them, and God (elohim, the deities) blessed 

J: man created alone, before beasts and birds; woman made from 
us rib. 

E: creation took place in six days. 
J: creation took place in one day. 

E: nothing was said about the Fall, which appeared only in the 

The Fall was all-important. If it never took place, there was no 
mginal sin, no necessity for redemption, no Savior. Dean Burgon of 

hichester said to deny the literal truth of the Genesis story was to 
'cause the entire scheme of man's salvation to collapse." Calvin stood 
iquarely behind what he thought the Bible said, and insisted that all 
pecies of animals were created at once, in a period of six normal days, 
ach with a morning and evening, as stated. Those who disagree with 
lim, he said, "basely insult the Creator," and will meet after death "a 
udge who will annihilate them." 9 

The clergy's notion of investigating the origins of man consisted 
)f studying the Bible to add up the given ages of patriarchs since Adam. 
This had been done in the 7th century by Isidore of Seville, who 
:ame up with a strange Bible-based view of history: "Joseph lived 105 
/ears. Greece began to cultivate grain. The Jews were in slavery in 
Egypt 144 years. Atlas discovered astrology. Joshua ruled for 27 years. 
Erichthonius yoked horses together. Othniel, 40 years. Cadmus 
ntroduced letters into Greece. Deborah, 40 years. Apollo discovered 
he art of medicine and invented the cithara. Gideon, 40 years. Mercury 
nvented the lyre and gave it to Orpheus." Reasoning on this level 
ind never noticing anything odd about the many consecutive reigns of 
K) years Archbishop Usher in 1650 placed the date of creation in 
K)04 b.c. Dr. John Lightfoot, 19th-century Vice-Chancellor of the 




Malebranche (1638- 
1715) French 
metaphysician who 
attempted to 
reconcile Cartesian 
philosophy with 
Catholic doctrine. 

University of Cambridge, carried the calculations even further: "Man 
was created by the Trinity on the twenty-third of October, 4004 B.C., a 
nine o'clock in the morning." 10 

The absurdity of such reasoning began to be exposed in 1830 
when Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology investigated the earth's 
long-term changes, showing that creation could not have taken place ii 
six days, nor in six years, nor even six thousand years. Geologists were 
finding fossils of animals that lived millions of years ago. Bones of 
extinct species were found in caves, mingled with human bones. 
Archeologists found high civilization flourishing in Egypt in 6000 B.C., 
with evidence of vastly older savage periods. Cuneiform writings 
showed that the people of Mesopotamia were telling the same story of 
creation that the Bible told and telling it thousands of years earlier. 

Christian scholars tried hard to refute the new findings. Gosse's 
Omphalos claimed all fossils, marks of retreating glaciers, lava flows, 
sedimentary rock strata, etc., were created instantaneously by God witl 
an appearance of pre-existence. Chateaubriand said God deliberately 
fooled men with the false appearance of pre-existence in order to test 
their faith. Others tried to explain fossils by calling them God's 
deceptions, formed of "lapidific juice" or "seminal air." u 

Naturally these crude views had to be abandoned in the end. 
Upholders of the Bible then tried to call the Genesis creation myth 
allegorical, with each "day" corresponding to a large span of prehistori 
time. This didn't work either. The Bible brought plants into being 
before the sun, on which plant life depends; made fish and birds befon 
"creeping things" on land which was hardly the case; and produced 
"light" before the only sources of light, sun and moon. 

However absurd, these myths still maintain a hold on vast numb( 
of people deliberately kept in ignorance by an obsolete fundamentalisr 
Even educated adults sometimes insist that an omniscient god created 
the world for a purpose of his own. 12 Malebranche came up with an 
original notion, which may have helped the public image of his churcl 
but made his God look rather less than grand. He said God "can love 
only Himself and therefore act only with the ultimate purpose of 

increasing His glory Thus the sole purpose of the creation was the 

incarnation and the formation of the Church." n 

I. de Riencourt, 165. 2. Budge, D.N., 211. 3. Larousse, 203. 4. Fodor, 4. 
5. Budge, G.E. 1, 295. 6. Graves, G.M. 1, 27. 7. Campbell, Or. M., 111. 
8. Pagels, 29, 57. 9. White 1, 26, 76. 10. White 1, 251, 256. 

II. White 1,214. 12. Campbell, P.M., 87. 13. Walker, 204. 


Welsh name for the May Queen, one of the "three sisters" (Triple 
Goddess), in whose honor two heroes fought one another every May 
Day until the end of the world; the same as Shakespeare's "Corde- 
lia." See Gwyn. 


Crispin, Saint Crispin, Saint 

Roman tutelary god of shoemakers, transformed into a saint by a Cronus 

"very late and quite worthless" legend. > October 2 5 , the day of the ^^^aiHHi 

shoemakers' feast among the pagans, was adopted as St. Crispin's 
Day. 2 He is still the patron of shoemakers, and his symbol is a shoe. 

1. Attwater, 94. 2. de Lys, 182. 


General designation of the third of the Triple Goddess's three 
aspects, exemplified by such figures as Kali the Destroyer, Cerridwen 
the death-dealing Sow, Atropos the Cutter, Macha, Hecate, Hel, 
Eresh-Kigal, Morgan, Queen of the Ghostworld, Queen of the Under- 
world, Queen of the Shades, Persephone "the Destroyer," etc. All 
such forms represented old age or death, winter, doomsday, the waning 
moon, and other symbols of the inevitable destruction or dissolution 
that must precede regeneration. 

The "Crone" may have descended from Rhea Kronia as Mother 
of Time, though the title has been linked with Coronis, the carrion 
crow, since crows and other black creatures were sacred to the Death- 
goddess. Her fearsome character often had a "virgin mother" side as 
well, because her trinity of appearances was cyclic. It was said in the 
East that true lovers of the Goddess must love her ugly "destroyer" 
images as well as her beautiful ones. The Crone also represented the 
third (post-menopausal) phase of women's lives, and her shrines were 
served by priestesses in this stage of life. Because it was believed that 
women became very wise when they no longer shed the lunar "wise 
blood" but kept it within, the Crone was usually a Goddess of Wisdom. 
Minerva, Athene, Metis, Sophia, and Medusa provide typical 


Titan god who castrated his father Uranus (Heaven) and was in turn 
deposed by his own son Zeus. Knowing the danger his children posed, 
Cronus tried to prevent it by swallowing them all an early version 
of the Slaughter of the Innocents but Zeus escaped. Cronus was 
confused with Chronos, "Time," because Time swallows up every- 
thing it brings forth actually a characteristic of Cronus's mother-mate, 
Rhea Kronia, the Goddess personifying time and fate. She was really 
Mother Earth, who gave birth to Cronus; and Rhea, who married him; 
and Hera, who married his son Zeus; the three of them comparable 
to the Mother, Grandmother, and Great-grandmother Goddesses in 
northern Europe. 1 See Caste. 

1. Graves, G.M. 1,37-40. 


Cross Cross 

The "Latin" or "Passion" cross, now the primary symbol of Chris- 
^^^^^^^^^ tianity, was not shown in Christian art until six centuries after Christ. 1 
But long before the Christian era it was a pagan religious symbol 
throughout Europe and western Asia. 2 Early Christians even repudiatec 
the cross because it was pagan. A church father of the 3rd century, 

+ Minucius Felix, indignantly denied that Christians worshipped the 

cross: "You it is, ye Pagans, who are the most likely people to adore 
wooden crosses ... for what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, 
but crosses gilt and beautiful. Your victorious trophies not only 
represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man on it." ? 

From very ancient times, an effigy of a man hanging on a cross 

Latin Cross was set up in fields to protect the crops. The modern scarecrow is a 

survival of this sacrificial magic, representing the sacred king whose 
blood was supposed to fertilize the earth. He was never abandoned, 
even though every farmer knew that no scarecrow ever really scared a 
crow. 4 

The cross was also a male symbol of the phallic Tree of Life; 
therefore it often appeared in conjunction with the female-genital 
circle or oval, to signify the sacred marriage. Male cross and female orb 
composed the Egyptian "amulet Nefer," or amulet of blessedness, a 
charm of sexual harmony. 5 

The so-called Celtic cross, with the crossing of the arms encircled 
by a ring, was another lingam-yoni sign of sexual union, known to the 

Hindus as Kiakra. 6 Some old Celtic crosses still in existence show 

Celtic Cross obvious phallic elements, even to a realistic meatus at the cross's tip. 7 

Crosses signified a god's love-death even in pre-Columbian art of the 
western hemisphere, which showed the Savior carrying his cross, an 
image very similar to the Christian one. 8 

No one knows exactly when the cross became associated with 
Christianity. Early images of Jesus represented him not on a cross, 
but in the guise of the Osirian or Hermetic "Good Shepherd," carrying 

+ a lamb. Later, many different kinds of crosses were used as Christian 

symbols. They included the Greek cross of equal arms, the X-shaped St 
Andrew's cross, the swastika, the Gnostic Maltese cross, the solar 
cross or Cross of Wotan, and the ansated cross, a development of the 
Egyptian ankh, also found as the Cross of Venus. 9 

Greeks said this cross was "common to the worship of Christ and 

Greek Cross Sarapis." 10 The Goddess Isis is shown on the Isiac Table with the 

cross in one hand, a lotus seed-vessel in the other, signifying male and 
female genitalia. 11 As her consort, the god Sarapis was incarnate in 
Ptolemy. The words "Ptolemy the Savior" were followed by a cross on 
the Damietta Stone. Pious Christian scholars once tried to pretend 
that this phrase was really a prophecy of the future Christ. 12 

For a few centuries the emblem of Christ was a headless T-shaped 
Tau cross rather than a Latin cross. This may have been copied from 
pagan druids, who made Tau crosses of oak trees stripped of their 



branches, with two large limbs fastened at the top to represent a Cross 

man's arms. This was the Thau, or god. 13 

A Tau cross was the sign of the holy day aptly named the ^^^^^^^^ 

Invention of the Cross, purporting to commemorate the discovery of 
the True Cross by the empress Helena, mother of Constantine, in a 
crypt under the temple of Aphrodite in Jerusalem. 14 After it was 
generally replaced by the Latin cross, the Tau cross was reassigned to 
St. Philip, supposedly crucified on a Tau cross in Phrygia, where he 
was trying to exorcise the god Mars in the form of a dragon. 15 This 
means the Tau cross was the sign of May Day, which the church 
adopted as St. Philip's day; and the druidic Thau was confused with the 

The Invention of the Cross was first heard of long after the lifetime Tau Cross 
of the empress Helena. The date assigned to her "discovery" was 
328 a.d., though no contemporary chronicler thought fit to mention 
such a momentous event. The legend said Helena found three 
crosses under Aphrodite's temple, but couldn't decide which belonged 
to Christ, which to the two thieves. She had a corpse brought, and 
laid on each cross in turn. When laid on the right one, the dead man 
sprang up alive. According to an alternative story, the True Cross 
instantly restored the health of "a noble lady who was near to death." 16 

Christian authorities also claimed the empress found the Holy 
Nails and the INRI scroll, but the latter somehow disappeared and 
was lost for over a thousand years. In 1492 it was miraculously 
rediscovered in the Church of the Holy Cross in Rome, where it 
seemed to have been all the time. Pope Alexander III published a bull 
infallibly attesting to its authenticity. 17 

The Invention of the Cross proved enormously useful in the 
Middle Ages, to account for the veritable forest of splinters of the 
True Cross revered in Europe's churches. There was so much miracle- 
working wood of the True Cross that Calvin said it would make "a 
full load for a good ship." 18 

The church claimed the True Cross was made of the same wood 
that grew as the Tree of Life in the garden of Eden. It was carried out 
by Adam, and preserved by all the patriarchs in turn (even riding the 
Flood in Noah's ark), for the sole purpose of crucifying the Savior 
when he appeared. Gnostic sources added an Oedipal twist: Jesus's cross 
was put together by his father, Joseph the carpenter. Moreover, the 
cross was planted on the very spot where the Tree of Life once grew. 
The church said it became "the Tree of the Cross, so that whence 
came death, thence also life might rise again." These absurdities were 
implicitly believed through the Middle Ages. 19 

Male genitals are still called "the tree of life" by the Arabs, and a 
cross was one of the oldest diagrammatic images of male genitals. 
Among Christians there was at least some recognition of the cross's 
phallic significance. An ancient crucifix at Sancreed in Cornwall was 
a spear set upright in a holy vase (the uterine vessel) with two testicle- 


Crossroads like scrolls appended to its shaft. 20 The cross entering the labyrinth 

was one of the oldest symbols of the lingam-yoni in the west, dating 

^^^^^^^^^^^_ back to early Neolithic times. Spiral "feminine" labyrinths penetrated 

by a cross occur in prehistoric rock carvings from Crete, at Tintagel in 

Cornwall, Wier Island in Finland, and Chartres Cathedral. 21 

Conscious or not, the phallic connotations of the cross appear even 

in the present century. In the 1950's a poem in the magazine Wake 

said: "Christ, I have walked around your erection, The Cross, that 

begot, upon a sky of prayer, a billion men, devoted in humility." 22 

During the so-called Age of Faith, the peasants were perhaps not 

so devoted in humility to the cross as churchmen wanted. Certain 

brotherhoods of "accursed huntsmen" or "archer wizards" constantly 

defaced roadside crosses, believing they could acquire magic skill with 

the bow by shooting three arrows in succession at a crucifix. 2 * Thus they 

opposed the phallic trident of the ancient Lord of the Hunt to 

Christ's symbol. (See Trident.) Today, the cross is often an article of 

jewelry, attesting an amuletic function virtually indistinguishable 

from its magical prophylactic use in antiquity. 

1. H. Smith, 188; Cumont, O.R.R.R, 109. 2. Budge, AT., 336. 3. Doane, 345. 

4. de Lys, 42. 5. Budge, E.M., 59. 6. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 374. 

7. de Paor, pi. 37. 8. Campbell, M.I., 175. 9. Jung, M.S., 43. 

10. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 355. 11. Knight, D.W.P., 50. 12. d'Alviella, 15. 

13. Elworthy, 103-4. 14. J.H. Smith, C.G., 322. 15. Brewster, 221,226. 

16. de Voragine, 274. 17. Budge, A.T., 343-44. 18. Kendall, p. 122. 

19. Male, 153. 20. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 613. 21. Hitching, 237. 

22. Ellis, 1 12. 23. Kramer & Sprenger, 1 50. 


In the Greco-Roman world, crossroads were sacred to the elder 
Diana under the name of Hecate Trevia (Hecate of the Three Ways), 
mother of the Lares compitales, "spirits of the crossroads." Travelers 
made offerings to the Goddess's three-faced images, and regular festivals 
called Compitalia were celebrated at her roadside shrines. 1 

Four-way crossroads were sometimes dedicated to Hermes, whose 
ithyphallic herms stood beside them until replaced by Christians' 
roadside crosses. However, the Christian sign of the cross was copied 
from Hermes's cult and traced his sacred numeral 4 on the worship- 
per's head and breast. Hermetic crosses were left at the crossroads of 
10th-century Ireland and simply re-interpreted as Christian symbols, 
though they plainly displayed the twin serpents of the pagan caduceus, 
another sign of the older deity. 2 

Cross, herm, and caduceus merged in northern symbolism with 
the gallows tree of Odin/ Wotan, "God of the Hanged," which led to 
the Christian custom of erecting a gallows at crossroads as well as a 
crucifix. The god on the gallows once played the same role as Jesus 
on the cross: a dying-god image rendered the crossroad numinous. Pre- 
Christian Europeans held waymeets, or moots, at crossroads to 
invoke their deities' attention to the proceedings; hence a moot point 


used to be one to be decided at a meet. The Goddess as Mother 
Earth, dispenser of "natural law" and creatress of birth-and-death 
cycles, was always present where the dying god died as the women 
long remembered. The English monk Aelfric complained of female 
customs dedicating newborn infants to the ancient Mother. Women 
would "go to the crossways and drag their children over the earth, and 
thereby give both themselves and their children to the Devil." 3 

As the crossroad ceremonies and their deities became diabolized, 
the Goddess of the waymeet became the queen of witches, who still 
worked magic there. The Key of Solomon said crossroads were the best 
of all places for magical procedures "during the depth and silence of 
the night." 4 Ghosts of the hanged, of the heathen, and of ancient 
aracles still haunted crossroads. Bernard Ragner said a spirit voice 
would foretell the future to anyone who went to a crossroad at the last 
hour of Christmas Eve. As late as the 1920's, English farmers still 
relieved witches' sabbats were held at crossroads. Necromantic supersti- 
:ions were encouraged by the custom of burying criminals and 
suicides in unhallowed ground at crossroads; clergymen said anyone so 
juried would walk as a ghost. Sometimes, such corpses were pinned 
down with a stake: "A stake was driven through them when deposited at 
:he cross-roads in order to keep the ghost from wandering abroad." 5 
Presumably, the ghost could be consulted in situ, just as spirits could be 
aised from their graves in the churchyard by any necromancer. 

Thus Hermes and Hecate, who led the souls of the dead in 
antiquity, became dread spirits of "witchcraft" in the same places that 
hey once benevolently ruled. 


1. Hyde, 137. 2. Campbell, M.I. 
5. Summers, V, 154-57. 

337. 3. Briffault 3, 58. 4. Wedeck, 153. 


\long with the vulture and raven, the carrion-eating crow was 
borthern Europe's common symbol of the Death-goddess. Valkyries, 
pometimes described as man-eating women, often took totemic form 
as ravens or crows. 1 

Anglo-Danish myths spoke of a witch named Krake (Crow), 
daughter of the Valkyrie Brunnhilde. Krake was a shape-shifter: at 
:imes a beautiful virgin, at other times a hag, monster, or crow. She 
named the Danish king Ragnar Lodbrok (Leather-Breeches), and 
jave birth to the hero Sigurd. 2 Sigurd was the same as Siegfried, whose 
nystic lady-love was the Valkyrie Brunnhilde; thus appeared the 
ame convoluted incestuous relationships found in the oldest myths of 
acred kingship. Again, the Triple Goddess returned as the three 
irophetic daughters of Ragnar and Krake, Fate-weavers who created 
he magic banner called Raven (Hraefn). 3 

There was a mythological Kraken associated with the sea, pictured 
is a serpent or water-monster; but this was only another form of the 

Key of Solomon 

(Clavicule de Salomon) 
A popular "Black 
Book" or magic book 
much used between the 
11th and Bthcentu- 

Bernard Ragner 

Author of Legends and 
Customs of Christmas, 


Crusades same Death-goddess. The Three Ravens (Kraken) in old ballads were 

birds of doom perching over the slain hero. Sometimes there were 

^^^^^^^^^^ m only two of them, as in the ballad of the Twa Corbies (Two Crows), 
who proposed to pluck out the bonny blue eyes of the slain knight. 4 

Such manifestations of the Goddess as a crow might be linked wit 
Coronis, "Crow," a death aspect of the pre-Hellenic earth mother 
Rhea. Classical mythographers tended to ignore Coronis, rememberinj 
her only as the virgin mother of the healing god Asclepius; but she 
seems to have been another of the Virgin-Crone combinations: Rhea 
Kronia as Mother Time who brings death to all things. 5 

1 . Woods, 1 56. 2. Guerber, L. M. A., 274-75. 3. Turville-Petre, 59. 
4. Sargent & Kittredge, 45. 5. Graves, GM. 1, 175; 2, 387. 


"Holy wars" designed to wrest property away from the heathen or 
heretic enemies of orthodox Christianity. Crusades were usually fough 
by vassals of Christian overlords, including the wealthy clergy. War- 
riors were promised not only the standard soldiers' spoils, but also 
indulgences, like instant remission of sins and admission to heaven 
guaranteed no matter what crimes the crusader may have committed. 

From the 8th to 10th centuries, the Holy Roman Empire was 
harassed by Norsemen, who owned many northern trading centers 
and dominated the seas. They also opened negotiations with foreign 
powers in North Africa and the Middle East. In 834, Arabian legates 
visited Denmark to contract military and trade alliances. 1 The Holy 
Roman Empire saw itself trapped between two anti-Christian forces: 
the pagan Normans in the northwest, and the Moslem Saracens in the 
southeast. Norsemen controlled trade routes through the Danube 
and Black Sea to the Turks, and were acquiring hoards of Arabic silver 
gold, and gems. They also sailed the Atlantic coasts down to Gibral- 
tar, and founded colonies in Libya. The Kingdom of God was nearly 

Pope Urban II tried to solve the problem by initiating crusades in 
the east, on the pretext of converting the Saracens' possessions in the 
"Holy Land" into Christian fiefs. In 1095 he instigated the People's 
Crusade as a combination of penitential pilgrimage and a war of 
conquest. It was advertised throughout Europe. All who participated 
were placed above restrictions of law, and promised forgiveness of 
sins and eternal bliss in heaven without any time spent in purgatory. 

A rabble of some 1 50,000 to 300,000 persons, mostly the dregs c 
society mixed with military mercenaries, set out across southern 
Europe, killing, torturing, and looting as they went. One division 
slaughtered 10,000 Jews in the Rhineland, then forgot about the 
Holy Land and dispersed. Two other divisions did so much harm in 
Hungary that native soldiers rose up against them and destroyed 
them all. Multitudes died along the way, of sickness, hunger, or injurie 


brought on by their violence. A remnant survived to plunder the too- Crusades 

hospitable Greeks, then to enter Constantinople. There, stronger 

crusaders sold off the weaker ones as slaves, to finance their own ^^^^^_^_^_ 

provisions. Finally, a remaining 7,000 or so crossed the Bosporus and 

were attacked by the Turks, who soon killed them all. 2 

One might think the fate of Pope Urban's crusade would have 
discouraged future experiments of this kind. Not so. It seems to have 
been an idea whose time had come. 

Later crusades were better organized, with more experienced 
soldiers and fewer penitential pilgrims. Their primary motive was 
loot. For the next 400 years, Christian knights went forth to astonish the 
Saracens with their intellectual naYvete and their military sophistica- 
tion, developed in a feudal society based on warfare. 

The Crusaders in general, in spite of their sacred cause, behaved like 
highway robbers. The first host which set out in 1095, and was 
annihilated by the Turks at Nicaea, killed, burned and pillaged all they 
encountered. The army commanded by Godfrey de Bouillon massa- 
cred the entire population of Jerusalem (1098). The astuteness of Venice 
turned aside the fourth Crusade upon Constantinople, and the sack of 
this city is a dark blot on the history of Western Christendom (1204). It 
was abominably ravaged, and the very church of St. Sophia was the 
scene of bloody and sacrilegious orgies. * 

A contemporary chronicler said Jerusalem withstood a month's 
siege. Upon its fall, crusaders rode into the city with their horses wading 
"knee-deep in the blood of disbelievers." Jews were herded into their 
synagogues and burned alive. On the next day, the knights slaughtered 
"a great multitude of people of every age, old men and women, 
maidens, children and mothers with infants, by way of a solemn 
sacrifice" to Jesus. 4 At the battle of Acre, Richard Coeur de Lion 
violated his pledge of truce, and had his hostages slaughtered and flayed. 
"His conduct stands in strong contrast with the dignity and forbear- 
ance of Saladin, before whose eyes the outrage was committed, and who 
would not stoop to retaliate on his dastardly opponent." 5 

Once the crusading system was established, it was turned on other 
enemies of the church closer to home and became the standard 
method for dealing with European heathens and heretics. Between 
1236 and 1283 a crusade of extermination was preached against the 
pagan Prussians by Pope Honorius, and carried out by the Teutonic 
Knights. The Christian Brethren of the Sword similarly converted 
Livonia and Courland. Armies of the Christian Dukes of Poland forced 
the Wends to accept Christian baptism and vassalage. The Lithua- 
nians stubbornly clung to their paganism to the end of the 14th century, 
but eventually they too were Christianized by the sword. 6 

It was noticed in the 1 3th century that the semi-barbarous Ste- 
dingers of the lower Weser river maintained their ancient tribal 
system, paid no attention to the church, and contributed no tithes. Pope 
Gregory IX sent bulls to the bishops of Minden, Lubeck, and 


Crusades Verden, ordering crusades against these recalcitrant peasants, whom he 

described as heretics because they consulted wise-women, made 
^^^^^^^^^^^^ waxen images, and worshipped "demons." Crusaders were promised 
blanket pardon for their sins. However, the Stedingers fought back 
stubbornly, and several campaigns against them failed. At last in 1234 a 
huge army marched into their land, ravaged every home with fire and 
sword, and wiped them out. Their property was divided between the 
church and the barons. 7 

It has been estimated that Europe was Christianized at a cost of 
about 8 million to 10 million lives. 8 Even after nominal conversion, 
there was much residual resistance to the new cult, which was alien and 
unappealing to the people it was imposed on. The clergy claimed 
authority from an unfamiliar eastern savior and his God, defaming all 
the pagans' local, ancestral deities many worshipped since the 
Neolithic age as demons. Moreover, familiar laws and lifestyle were 
declared wholly sinful. It's hardly surprising that there arose heresy 
after heresy to confront the conquering church, which became increas- 
ingly fanatical in its dictatorial policies, yet in the end failed to 
overcome the people's need to assert their own religious heterodoxy. 9 
Many refused to give up their pagan Goddess, or their notion that 
sexuality contained an element of the divine. Many remembered a time, 
not so long before, when "holy communion" was a taste of divine 
bliss through sensual pleasures: an idea that was especially prevalent in 
the south of France. 

Crusades against the Catharan or Albigensian heretics of southern 
France were particularly virulent, since these people were prosperous 
enough to attract plunderers, and bitterly opposed to the Roman 
church, which they called the Synagogue of Satan. They condemned 
its worship of holy images as idolatry, denied the power of its sacra- 
ments, scoffed at the Trinity, insisted on reading the Bible for 
themselves, and revived the old Gnostic belief that the Jehovah wor- 
shipped by the Roman church was a demonic demiurge who created 
the world of matter to entrap souls in wickedness. Pope Alexander III 
anathematized the Catharan communities and sent ecclesiastical 
judges to investigate their offenses in 1 163. Of these judges, the word 
"inquisitor" was used for the first time. 10 

In 1209 Pope Innocent II preached a great crusade against the 
French rebels. This has gone down in history as the Albigensian 
crusade, one of the bloodiest chapters in Christianity's past. 11 Half of 
France was exterminated. When the papal legate was asked how 
heretics were to be distinguished from the faithful, he replied, "Kill 
them all; God will know his own." 12 

Soon the legate was able to report that in Beziers alone, "nearly 
twenty thousand human beings perished by the sword. And after the 
massacre the town was plundered and burnt, and the revenge of God 
seemed to rage over it in a wonderful manner." The killing of 
heretics went on continually for twenty years, and it has been estimated 
that more than a million were slaughtered. 13 


This was more than a police action against heresy. It was the Cu Chulainn 
destruction of a whole civilization that had the misfortune to be more 
advanced than the rest of Europe. 

In the twelfth century, the south of France had been the most civilized 
land in Europe. There commerce, industry, art, science, had been far 
in advance of the age. The cities had won virtual self-government, were 
proud of their wealth and strength, jealous of their liberties, and self- 
sacrificing in their patriotism. The nobles, for the most part, were 
cultivated men, poets themselves or patrons of poetry, who had learned 
that their prosperity depended on the prosperity of their subjects, and that 
municipal liberties were a safeguard rather than a menace to the wise 
ruler. The Crusaders came, and their unfinished work was taken up and 
executed to the bitter end by the Inquisition. It left a ruined and 
impoverished country, with shattered industries and a failing commerce. 
The native nobles were broken by confiscation and replaced by 
strangers A people of rare gifts had been tortured, decimated, humili- 
ated, despoiled. . . . The precocious civilization which had promised to 
lead Europe in the path of culture was gone, and to Italy was transmitted 
the honour of the Renaissance. H 

Catholic writers made many efforts to justify the destruction. 

Apologists like Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay used vituperation, calling the 

Catharan opinions "this detestable pest ... the poison of superstitious 

infidelity." He said Toulouse was "marvelously and miserably infected 

with this plague . . . almost all the barons of Provence had become 

harborers and defenders of heretics." In the 19th century, Abbe 

Vacandard said, "The Church, after all, was only defending herself. 

The Cathari sought to wound her mortally by attacking her doctrine, 

her hierarchy and her apostolicity. She would have been ruined if 

their perfidious insinuations, which brought violent disturbance into 

men's minds, had prevailed in the end." 15 It has ever been the 

church's habit to regard any skepticism concerning its pronouncements 

as "violent disturbance"; but of course, all the bloodletting was in 

vain. Skepticism did prevail in the end. 

1.0xenstierna,76. 2. H. Smith, 252-53. 3. Reinach, 295. 4. H. Smith, 253. 

5. Briffault 3, 392. 6. Reinach, 294. 7. Lea unabridged, 656-60. 8. H. Smith, 251. 

9. Campbell, CM., 629. 10. H.Smith, 254-55. ll.Oldenbourg, M.M. 

12. Campbell, Oc.M., 499. 13. H. Smith, 257. 14. Briffault 3,487-88. 


Cu Chulainn 

Celtic dying god, a son of God, born of a virgin, reincarnated as both 
Father and Son. It was said of him that he was "begotten by a man that 
was not a man; his father was reared by his mother as a child, a child 
which died and did not die." J In other words, he was a pre-Christian 
Christ figure, God-begotten on the "Mother of God," of one 
substance with his own Father. 

Cu Chulainn received the death-curse of the Goddess Macha, and 
died bound to a sacred pillar, pierced by arrows, his blood fertilizing 


Cuckold the earth. Other Celtic heroes died the same way. Their idols were 

sometimes interpreted as images of St. Sebastian, now officially 

^^^^^^^^^^^_ viewed as an over-hasty canonization of a Gaulish heathen savior. 2 

Cu Chulainn received his education in battle skills from Skadi, or 
Scatha, the same northern death-goddess as the Queen of Skye. His 
destiny or "weird" was to kill his rival on the "precursor day of spring," 
so the shedding of blood would "allow spring to enter." 3 The same 
idea of bloodshed to facilitate the return of spring is found in Teutonic 
myths of Skadi. 4 

Cu means "dog," a common title of Celtic chieftains (as in 
Cunobelin) identified with the underworld Lord of Death. Like 
Egypt's Anubis, the dead hero might become the canine gatekeeper 
charged with admitting souls to paradise, as shown on the Gundes- 
trup Cauldron. 5 The dog represented reincarnation. So did Cu 
Chulainn, who was promised that "his rebirth would be of himself." 
He was sent to Emania, the realm of the dead in the moon. 6 He may 
have been the original of the British legend that the man in the moon 
is really a dog, who acts as a messenger of death. 7 

The virgin mother of Cu Chulainn conceived him by eating his 
soul in the form of a fly. This Celtic soul-symbol originated in the 
Middle East, where the Lord of Death was Baal-Zebub (Beelzebub), 
Lord of Flies. Like most pagan gods, Cu Chulainn was a shape- 
shifter. He could be an insect, animal, or man at different stages in his 
life cycle. Such changes from one shape to another were based on the 
ancient Indo-European idea of metempsychosis. The Protean hero 
even adapted his shape to Christianity; the medieval Irish insisted that 
he was an avatar of Christ. 8 

Later Irish writers pretended that Cu Chulainn was not ignomini- 
ously trussed up to his pillar as a sacrifice, in the manner of the old 
gods. They thought it important to prove that he fell in battle. There- 
fore they invented the legend that, wounded and knowing himself 
doomed, Cu Chulainn tied himself to the sacred pillar so he couldn't 
fall down before his enemies, who were piercing him with arrows, but 
rather "died with his honor unimpaired." 9 

l.Rees,235. 2. Spence, 85; Attwater, 304. 3. Goodrich, 187, 216. 

4. Oxenstierna, 213. 5. Cavendish, V.H.H., 49. 6. Spence, 146. 

7. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 197. 8. Spence, 95-96, 108. 9. Larousse, 111. 


Derived from "cuckoo," the bird of May, anciently sacred to the 
promiscuous May-games that medieval Europe inherited from pagan- 
ism. 1 The man who became a cuckoo, or cuckold, was one who 
didn't care whether his wife was faithful or not, for both of them 
attended the Maytime festivities when ritual promiscuity was the 
rule or fertility charm as late as the 16th century. 2 The season of 
"wearing of the green" in honor of the reborn vegetation was 


announced by the cuckoo's singing "from every holt and heath," as Cunt 

Chaucer put it; and marriage bonds were temporarily in abeyance. 

The cuckold's horns descended from another pagan sign, that of ^_^^^^^^^_ 

the Horned God, sacrificed as a stag, goat, or ram at the spring feasts. 
Pagan priests used to wear the horns of the sacrificed animal on their 
heads; and horned masks or headdresses were commonly worn by 
participants in the rite, in the god's honor. A 16th-century writer 
therefore described the cuckold as "cornute," that is, "as soundly 
armed for the head, as either Capricorn, or the stoutest horned sign in 
the Zodiac." 3 See Horns. 

1. Potter & Sargent, 80. 2. Frazer, G.B., 142. 3. Hazlitt, 160. 


Derivative of the Oriental Great Goddess as Cunti, or Kunda, the 
Yoni of the Uni-verse. 1 From the same root came county, kin, and kind 
(Old English cyn, Gothic kuni). Related forms were Latin cunnus, 
Middle English cunte, Old Norse and Frisian kunta, Basque cuna. 
Other cognates are "cunabula," a cradle, or earliest abode; "Cun- 
ina," a Roman Goddess who protected children in the cradle; 
"cunctipotent," all-powerful (i.e., having cunt-magic); "cunicle," a 
hole or passage; "cuniculate," penetrated by a passage; "cundy," a 
coverted culvert; also cunning, kenning, and ken: knowledge, learn- 
ing, insight, remembrance, wisdom. Cunt is "not slang, dialect or any 
marginal form, but a true language word, and of the oldest stock." 2 

"Kin" meant not only matrilineal blood relations, but also a cleft or 
crevice, the Goddess's genital opening. A Saharan tribe called Kun- 
tahs traced their descent from this holy place. 3 Indian "kundas" were 
their mothers' natural children, begotten out of wedlock as gifts of the 
Goddess Kunda. 4 Of old the name applied to girls, as in China where 
girls were once considered children of their mothers only, having no 
natural connection with fathers. 5 

In ancient writings, the word for "cunt" was synonymous with 
"woman," though not in the insulting modern sense. An Egyptolo- 
gist was shocked to find the maxims of Ptah-Hotep "used for 'woman' a 
term that was more than blunt," though its indelicacy was not in the 
eye of the ancient beholder, only in that of the modern scholar. 6 

Medieval clergymen similarly perceived obscenity in female-geni- 
tal shrines of the pagans: holy caves, wells, groves. Any such place 
was called cunnus diaboli, "devilish cunt." Witches who worshipped 
there sometimes assumed the name of the place, like the male witch 
Johannes Cuntius mentioned by Thomas More. 7 "Under painful cir- 
cumstances" this witch died at the hands of witch hunters, but it was 
said he was resurrected, and came back to earth as a lecherous incubus. 8 

Sacred places identified with the world-cunt sometimes embar- 
rassed Victorian scholars who failed to understand their earlier 


Cupid meaning. A.H. Clough became a laughing-stock among Gaelic-speak- 

Curse, Mother's ing students when he published a poem called Toper-na-Fuosich, 

^^^^^^^^^^^ m literally "bearded well," a Gaelic place-name for a cunt-shrine. The 
synonym "twat" was ignorantly used by another Victorian poet, 
Robert Browning, in the closing lines of his Pippa Passes: 

Then, owls and bats, 

Cowls and twats, 

Monks and nuns, in a cloisters moods, 

Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry! 

Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary hesitantly asked 

Browning where he learned the word. He said it came from a bawdy 

broadside poem of 1659: "They talked of his having a Cardinal's Hat; 

They'd send him as soon an Old Nun's Twat." Browning thought the 

word meant a wimple, or other headgear corresponding to "hat." 9 

1. G.R. Scott, 188. 2. Dames, 110-14. 3. Briffault 1, 604. 

4. Mahanirvanatantra, 289. 5. Murstein,473. 6. Erman, 61. 7. Summers, V, 179. 

8. Hazlitt, 211. 9.Perrin,217. 


Roman name for the god of erotic love, Greek Eros, Hindu Kama. 
Cupid was the son of Venus and Mercury (Aphrodite and Hermes), 
and was therefore a "Herm-Aphrodite," signifying sexual union. 

In Christian usage, the ancient significance of sexual desire was 
confused with desire for money, hence the modern "cupidity," which 
used to mean "lust" but now means greed. In the same way, Latin 
caritas was altered from sensual or sexual giving to the modern 
"charity," giving of money. 

Renaissance art made emanations of Cupid into amoretti, "little 
loves," shown as winged babies. But ancient talismans of Cupid were 
not babies; they were winged phalli of bronze, ivory, or wood, which 
gave rise to an Italian slang term for the penis, uccello, "little bird." ' 

1. Young, 74. 

Curse, Mother's 

In ancient Asiatic belief, a mother's curse meant certain death. All 
death was brought about by the Goddess's word of destruction, as all 
birth was brought about by her word of creation. By virtue of 
motherhood, any woman could tap the verbal power of the Goddess. 
The Markandaya Purana says, "for all curses there is some remedy; 
but there is nothing anywhere that can dispel the curse of those who 
have been cursed by a mother." J Similarly, the biblical Hannah 
rejoiced when she became a mother, saying, "My mouth is enlarged 
over mine enemies" (1 Samuel 2:1) because maternity gave her 
curses an irresistible power. 


Homer tells the story of Meleager, cursed by his mother for 
murdering her brothers. Falling on her knees, she knocked the earth 
with her fists and called upon the underground Goddess. "And the 
Fury that walks in the dark and has inexorable thoughts heard her 
from Erebus." 2 The Fury told Meleager's mother to burn his soul in 
the form of a wand, so he was stricken with a fever, and soon died. 3 

Witchcraft of this sort was not even necessary the curse alone 
could kill. The Greek word for the effect of a mother's curse was 
miasma, a kind of spiritual pollution bringing slow but sure destruction. 
Miasma could pursue members of a clan for many generations. The 
tragic family history of Orestes might be traced to a curse laid by the 
Goddess Artemis herself on his ancestor Atreus, who dared to 
withhold the golden fleece of a sacrificial lamb she had sent, using it to 
confirm his right to rule. 4 

Gods launched curses too, and some of them were spectacular, like 
those with which Yahweh threatened all who disobeyed him: a 
combination of pestilence, fever, consumption, inflammation, blasting, 
mildew, extreme burning, emerods (hemorrhoids), the scab, the itch, 
the botch of Egypt, madness, blindness, slavery, great plagues of long 
continuance, and barrenness of the land (Deuteronomy 28). How- 
ever, the gods' curses seemed not to arouse as much terror as those of 
Goddess or Mother. 

The terrible vehicle of the feminine curse was menstrual blood, 
still called The Curse. To "damn" has been linked with the Hebrew 
dam, "blood," specifically mother-blood, the fluid of the womb, an- 
ciently thought to create one's very soul and destroy it. Dam was 
also synonymous with "mother" (ma-dam, my mother). Elder women 
past menopause were thought to be the most efficient cursers, on the 
ancient theory that their "wise blood" was retained in their bodies, 
giving them numinous power to make their words come true. 5 This 
was why medieval Europe believed any destructive charm having 
menstrual blood as one of its ingredients must be irresistible, and why 
elder women were viewed as prototypical witches, their words or even 
their glances heavy with dread. 

Fathers of the church even wooed converts with the assurance that 
the Christian faith was strong enough to overcome a mother's curse, 
the most powerful curse known to man. St. Augustine claimed that 
some children cursed by their mother were afflicted by constant 
weakness and tremors, but St. Stephen converted them to Christianity, 
and they were completely cured of the effects of the curse. 6 

Eastern sages believed the feminine power of the curse must be 
allayed not so much by opposing it with a patriarchal religion, as by 
treating women well, so they would not be inclined to use their 
destructive power. The Laws of Manu said: 

Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, hus- 
bands, and brothers-in-law, who desire their own welfare. Where 
women are honored, there the gods are pleased, but where they are not 

Curse, Mother's 

Laws of Manu 

Post-Vedic treatise on 
holy law, composed or 
collected some time 
between the 2nd 
century B.C. and the 
2nd century a.d. 


Cut hbert , Saint honored, no sacred rite yields rewards. Where the female relations live 

in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but that family where they are 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^ not unhappy ever prospers. The houses on which female relations, not 

being duly honored, pronounce a curse, perish completely, as if destroyed 
by magic. 7 

This advice came from the place northern Aryans called Mut- 
spellheim, the Home of the Mother's Curse, in "the hot lands of the 
south." According to the Scandinavian prophecy of doomsday, the 
Mutspell would fall upon the violent patriarchal gods who ignored 
ancient tribal bonds and rules of morality, and instituted cruel 
warfare. The result of the Mother's Curse would be the death of all 
gods, their Gotterdammerung or Going-Into-the-Shadow; thus it 
seemed the Mother's word of destruction meant the end of the world. 8 

Christian Gnostic writings reveal the same belief in a world- 
destroying curse from a Great Mother disgusted with the cruel 
behavior of the gods she created. In her anger, the Goddess would send 
a great power from the place "where the firmament of woman is 
situated," the Gnostic equivalent of Mutspellheim. "Then she will drive 
out the gods of Chaos whom she had created together with the first 
Father. She will cast them down to the abyss. They will be wiped out by 
their own injustice." 9 

Myths in general suggest that a mother's curse was the necessary 
instrument of destruction for any god, even a Savior-son, most of 
whom were solemnly cursed before immolation. 10 Since a mother's 
curse was immutable, no guilt accrued to the executioners who 
carried out sacrificial killings in ancient dramas of death and resurrec- 
tion. Mythology bears out the archetypal idea that one who gives 
birth has unlimited power over the life so given, and may retain control 
of that life's duration. 

As a rule therefore, death curses usually employed female symbol- 
ism. Typical was the curse of the "black fast," utilizing a black hen, 
once sacred to the Queen of the Shades as destructive twin of the 
Mother of the World Egg. The curse was accomplished by the 
operator and the black hen fasting together, every Friday for nine weeks 
(the Goddess's day and number). After this, an accursed one was sure 
to die. 11 

1. O'Flaherty, 68. 2. Cavendish, P.E., 122. 3. Graves, CM. 1, 266. 

4. Graves, CM. 2, 44. 5. Gifford, 26. 6. de Voragine, 57. 7. Bullough, 232-33. 

8. Turville-Petre, 281-84. 9. Robinson, 178. 10. Budge, CE. 2, 253. 


Cuthbert, Saint 

Once a pagan Lord of the Hunt with a pilgrimage center at Durham, 
formerly Duirholm, "Meadow of the Deer." 

In 1 104, Durham Cathedral was erected over the god's old shrine. 
It housed the undecaying corpse of Cuthbert, whose sainthood was 


proven by his incorruptibility. He was periodically displayed, and always 
pronounced remarkably fresh. His remains were last viewed in 1827 
and found to be as plump and rosy as ever almost as if he were a 
waxwork, if it were possible to suspect the church of perpetrating 
such a hoax. 

Oddly enough, while his incorruptible body lay in Durham Cathe- 
dral, St. Cuthbert also lived on at the bottom of the sea, as a marine 
smith-god who forged beads for rosaries in his ocean cave. Crinoid shells 
washed up on Northumbrian beaches after storms were known as St. 
Cuthbert's Beads. 1 

There was also a St. Cuthbert's Well, located near the famous 
Eden Hall, whose "luck" talisman was a sacred chalice inherited from 
the fairies. 2 The waters of St. Cuthbert's Well were credited with the 
usual miraculous powers of healing and preserving health. 

1. Brewster, 396-97. 2. Hazlitt, 374. 



Great Mother of the Gods from Ida Magna Mater Deum Idea 
brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C. Her triumphal procession 
was "later glorified by marvelous legends, and the poets told of 
edifying miracles that had occurred during Cybele's voyage." l 

Her holy aniconic image was carried to Rome by order of the 
Cumaean Sybil, a personification of the same cave-dwelling Goddess 
herself. As the Great Mother of all Asia Minor, she was worshipped 
especially on Mt. Ida, Mt. Sipylus, Cyzicus, Sardis, and Pessinus in 
Galatia. 2 

Her festivals were called ludi, "games." 3 A highlight of her 
worship was the Taurobolium, baptism in the blood of a sacred bull, 
who represented her dying-god consort, Attis. Her temple stood on the 
Vatican, where St. Peter's basilica stands today, up to the 4th century 
a.d. when Christians took it over. 4 She was one of the leading deities of 
Rome in the heyday of the mystery cults, along with Hecate and 
Demeter of Eleusis. 5 

Other names for Cybele assimilated her to every significant form 
of the Great Goddess. She was the Berecynthian Mother (genetrix 
Berecynthia). She was Rhea Lobrine, Goddess of sacred caves, known 
as her "marriage bowers." 7 She was called Augusta, the Great One; 
Alma, the Nourishing One; Sanctissima, the Most Holy One. Roman 
emperors like Augustus, Claudius, and Antoninus Pius regarded her 
as the supreme deity of the empire. Augustus established his home 
facing her temple, and looked upon his wife, the empress Livia 
Augusta, as an earthly incarnation of her. 8 The emperor Julian wrote an 
impassioned address to her: 

Who is then the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual 
and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods; she is both 

Variations of 
Cybele's name 
Kubaba, Kuba, 
Kube have been 
linked with the 
Ka'aba stone at Mecca, 
a meteoric "cube" 
that bore the Goddess's 
symbol and was once 
known as the Old 
Woman. 6 


Cyboread the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; she came into being next to 

Cynosure and together with the great creator; she is in control of every form of 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^ life, and the cause of all generation; she easily brings to perfection all 

things that are; she is the motherless maiden, enthroned at the side of 
Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of all the Gods. 9 

Fathers of the Christian church vehemently disagreed. St. Augus- 
tine called Cybele a harlot mother, "the mother, not of the gods, but 
of the demons." 10 

One of her names, Antaea, made her the mythical mother of the 
earth-giant Antaeus, who was invincible as long as his feet remained 
in contact with his Mother's body, the earth. Heracles conquered him 
by holding him up in the air. Churchmen believed the powers of 
witches came from the same sort of contact with Mother Earth. 
Arresting officers often carried witches to prison in a large basket, so 
their feet would not touch the ground. 11 

There was a Christian sect founded in the 2nd century a.d. by 
Montanus (Mountain man), a priest of Cybele, who identified Attis 
with Christ. Montanus maintained that women were agents of the 
Goddess, and could preach and prophesy as well as men. This 
contradicted the orthodox Pauline sect, which followed St. Paul's rule 
that women must never speak publicly on holy subjects. 12 During the 
4th century, Montanist Christianity was declared a heresy, and many of 
its adherents were slain. Some Montanists in Asia Minor were locked 
in their churches and burned alive. 13 

1. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 47 2. Encyc. Brit., "Great Mother of the Gods." 

3. James, 246. 4. Clodd, 79; Fra/.er, G.B., 408. 5. Angus, 143. 

6. Vermaseren, 22; Harding, 41.7. Gaster, 609. 

8. Vermaseren, 27, 53, 83, 85, 177-78. 9. Vermaseren, 86-87. 

10. Vermaseren, 181. 11. Robbins, 334; Lea unabridged, 814. 12. Reinach, 278. 

13. Chamberlin, A.M., ch. 1. 


"Queen of the North," the mother-bride of Judas, whose myth was 
similar to those of Oedipus, Osiris, and other mother-marrying heroes. 
See Judas. 


"Dog's Tail," the kunos oura, name given by the Greek sect of 
Cynics or "Doglike Ones" to the pole star, which they believed would 
move from its place at the still point of the turning heavens when 
doomsday was near. 1 This, and the fact that the Dog's Tail was the 
prime navigational star, made it the "Cynosure of all eyes." See Dog. 

1 . Potter & Sargent, 174. 


Cypria Cypria 

Epithet of Aphrodite, "the Cyprian," whose temple was founded at Cyrene 

Paphos on the isle of Cyprus. Because of the island's many copper h^^^^bmbh^^^ 
mines, copper (cypros) was sacred to Aphrodite. 


Amazon queen who founded the city bearing her name on the coast 
of Libya, in Marmarica, territory named for one of the oldest forms of 
the Aryan Sea-goddess. 1 Cyrene was the home of seductive "sirens," 
whose verbal spells Homer described as highly dangerous to sailors. 

1. Graves, W.G., 438. 











diana, the Queen of 
Heaven, here shown 
as the Many-Breasted 
Artemis, as she was 
known to her cult at 
Ephesus. This 
ancient sculpture 
appears at the Villa 
Albani in Rome. 

The demon Pazuzu, one 
of the Akkadian evil 
spirits, bringer of fierce 
storms and malaria, 
and terror to pregnant 
women. Bronze, 5% 
inches high. 
Mesopotamia, 500- 

The devil, as a cast iron 
bootjack, found in 
Massachusetts. Mid- 
nineteenth century; 
lOVi inches high. 

Daeira Daeira 




"Goddess," a title of Demeter as the Wise One of the Sea, and 
mother of King Eleusis (Advent). The title carried the same connota- 
tions as "God" today. 


Philistine sea god, one of Yahweh's leading enemies (Judges 16:23). 
He appeared as a merman, fish-man, or serpent-man. He was mated to 
Atargatis, the Philistine form of Astarte. Since she was a Mistress of 
Earth and Sea like her Mycenaean twin Demeter, her consort also 
patronized both farming and fishing. In Canaan, he was the "grain 
god" Dagan, father of Baal, mated to Anath, the Canaanite version of 
the same Great Mother. On account of the bad publicity given him 
in the Bible, he naturally became a leading demon of the Christian hell. 


Iranian topless "tower of silence," once used to dispose of dead 
bodies, which were dropped in and left for the vultures to carry to the 
sky (see Vulture). Large dakhmas still stand today. The adventure of 
Sinbad the Sailor in the charnel valley, where supernatural birds carried 
off gobbets of meat, may have descended from a legendary sage's 
sojourn in a dakhma as a ceremonial death-and-rebirth. 


"Skywalker," a Tantric priestess, embodying the spirit of Kali Ma as 
an angel of death. 1 Dakinis were usually elder women, but sometimes 
young women impersonating the divine Shakti who took the last 
breath of the enlightened sage with a kiss of peace. Dakinis attended the 
dying, embracing and comforting them in their last moments. But 
there were also "fierce dakinis," representing violent or painful forms of 
death. 2 

Like western witches, dakinis held their meetings in cemeteries or 
cremation grounds, having charge of funeral rites and the preparation 
of dead bodies. See Death. 

1. Tatz & Kent, 148. 2. Bardo Thodol, 128. 

var. Danu, Danuna, Dana 


Eponymous Great Mother of the Danes and many other peoples, 
such as the Danaans, the Danaids, the biblical Danites, and the Irish 
Tuatha De Danann, "people of the Goddess Dana." l The Russians 

called her Dennitsa, "Greatest of all Goddesses." A medieval Russian 
exorcism said: "In the morning let us rise and pray to God and 
Dennitsa." 4 

As Danu-Ana, or Anu, she led the Irish trinity of Fates, collective- 
the Morrigan. Mountains in Kerry are still named after her breasts, 
the Paps of Anu. 5 Under the name of Don she was masculinized as a 
"king" of Dublin in late Irish legend; but the same "king" was also 
called Mother of the Gods. 6 Sometimes the Irish called her Domnu, a 
mother Goddess personifying the Deep. 7 

Classical Greek mythology humanized the Goddess Danae, in 
much the same way as the Bible humanized Earth Mother Eve; the 
two were the same deity, fructified by the Heaven-father's seminal rain. 
The Hellenic Danae was a virgin princess impregnated by Zeus's 
shower of golden rain that is, urine, to which primitives sometimes 
attributed the same reproductive power as semen. As result of this 
beneficial moistening, Danae bore the hero Perseus, who annoyed 
fathers of the Christian church by being as verifiably god-begotten 
and virgin-born and their own savior. 9 But Danae, like Eve, was really 
another name for the universal Triple Goddess, also called Dam-kina 
by the Sumerians, Dinah by the Hebrews, and Danu or Dunnu in 
Babylon. The Greeks knew of three Danaids, known as Telchines or 
"Enchanters," who founded the three chief cities of Rhodes. 10 

Writers of the Old Testament disliked the Danites, whom they 
called serpents (Genesis 49:17). Nevertheless, they adopted Dan-El 
or Daniel, a Phoenician god of divination, and transformed him into a 
Hebrew prophet. His magic powers like those of the Danites emanat- 
ed from the Goddess Dana and her sacred serpents. He served as court 
astrologer and dream-interpreter for both the Persian king Cyrus, and 
the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:21, 2:1), indicating 
that "Daniel" was not a personal name but a title, like the Celtic one: 
"a person of the Goddess Dana." 

1. Graves, G.M. 1, 204. Lamusse, 225. 2. Graves, W.G., 54. 3. Rees, 53. 
4. Larousse, 285. 5. Graves, W.G., 409. 6. Squire, 372. 7. Squire, 48. 
8. Briffault 3, 71. 9. H. Smith, 183. 10. Graves, G.M. 1, 203-4. 


Pre-Hellenic Aegean 
tribes called her 
Danuna, Universal 
Mother. 2 The rivers of 
Amazon country 
were named after her 
Danube, Don, 
Dnieper because she 
"Waters." To the 
Hindus she was 
"Waters of Heaven," 
mother of the Vedic 
gods. 3 

In Saxon myth, 
Danu-Ana became 
Black Annis, or 
Anna of the Angles, or 
the Blue Hag, or 
Angurboda, mother of 
Hel. An ancient 
cave-shrine at Dane's 
Hill in Leicestershire 
was her dwelling place, 
known as Black 
Annis's Bower. 8 


"Laurel," the plant of prophecy chewed by the Goddess's priestesses 
in the vale of Tempe, until Apollo's cult replaced hers, and restricted 
laurel-chewing to the Delphic Pythoness. 1 The Goddess's original 
name was Daphoene, "Bloody One," in early times when her Maenads 
were still performing blood sacrifices. 

Orgiastic Daphne entered classical mythology as a purified virgin 
who was saved from rape by Apollo through a transformation into a 
laurel tree in the nick of time. The myth seems to have been suggested 
by an icon showing the Goddess's face looking down from the 
branches of a laurel tree upon the sacred king immolated at her feet. 


Dark Age Laurel remained the plant of inspiration and poetic frenzy. Laurel 

crowns were given to the best poets, who were then called "laureate"- 
^^^^^^^^^^^^ laurel-crowned. 

1. Graves, G.M. 1,81. 

Dark Age 

Western histories have put forth many theories about the fall of 
Rome and attributed the onset of the Dark Age to a wide variety of 
causes, except the one cause that may have had more to do with it 
than any other: Christianity. 1 By denying women's spiritual significance 
and forbidding Goddess worship, the church alienated both sexes 
from their pagan sense of unity with the divine through each other. 

Christians said one of the diabolic symptoms of the oncoming end 
of the world was "the spread of knowledge," which they endeavored 
to check with wholesale book-burnings, destruction of libraries and 
schools, and opposition to education for laymen. 2 By the end of the 
5th century, Christian rulers forcibly abolished the study of philosophy, 
mathematics, medicine, and geography. Lactantius said no Christian 
should study astronomy. Pope Gregory the Great denounced all secular 
education as folly and wickedness, and forbade Christian laymen to 
read even the Bible. He burned the library of the Palatine Apollo, "lest 
its secular literature distract the faithful from the contemplation of 
heaven." 3 

In the church's view, every opinion except its own was heretical 
and devilish, likely to raise doubts in the minds of believers. There- 
fore, pagan intellectuals and teachers were persecuted and schools were 
closed. Christian emperors commanded the burning of all books of 
the philosophers, as Theodosius said, "for we would not suffer any of 
those things so much as to come to men's ears, which would tend to 
provoke God to wrath and offend the minds of the pious." After years of 
vandalism and destruction, St. John Chrysostom proudly boasted, 
"Every trace of the old philosophy and literature of the ancient world 
has vanished from the face of the earth." 4 

It was almost true. Christian persecutions left "but few fragments 
of a vast liturgy and religious literature of paganism which would have 
cast many a ray of light on the origins of our own faith; and demolished 
holy places and beautiful temples such as the world shall never rear 
again." 5 After temples were destroyed, monks and hermits were settled 
in the ruins to defile the site with their excrement, and to prevent 
reconstruction. 6 

Rulers melted down bronze, gold, and silver artworks for money. 
Peasants broke up marble gods and goddesses and fed their pieces 
into limekilns for mortar. 7 It is recorded that 4th-century Rome had 424 
temples, 304 shrines, 80 statues of deities in precious metal, 64 
statues of ivory, 3,700 statues in bronze, and thousands in marble. By 


the next century, nearly all of them were gone. The historian 
Eunapius, a hierophant of the Eleusinian Mysteries, watched the 
destruction and wrote that the empire was being overwhelmed by a 
"fabulous and formless darkness mastering the loveliness of the world." 8 

Roman society was losing its cohesiveness and discipline, with the 
usual symptoms of social decline: runaway inflation, shortages, crime, 
apathy, and a discouraged middle class taxed to the breaking point to 
support a top-heavy, stagnant bureaucracy. 9 Most Christians came 
not from that middle class, but from the lower elements of society, 
taking advantage of lawless times to grab what they could. Celsus said 
the Christians invited into their ranks "whosoever is a sinner or 
unintelligent, or a fool, in a word, whosoever is god-forsaken, him the 
kingdom of God will receive. Now whom do you mean by the sinner 
but the wicked: thief, housebreaker, poisoner, temple robber, grave 
robber?. . . Jesus, they say, was sent to save sinners; was he not sent to 
help those who have kept themselves free from sin? They pretend 
that God will save the unjust man if he repents and humbles himself. 
The just man who has held steadily from the cradle in the ways of 
virtue he will not look upon." 10 

Bertrand Russell described the philosophical outlook of St. Jerome: 
"He thinks the preservation of virginity more important than victory 
over the Huns and Vandals and Goths. Never once do his thoughts turn 
to any possible measure of practical statesmanship; never once does 
he point out the evils of the fiscal system, or of reliance on an army 
composed of barbarians. The same is true of Ambrose and Augus- 
tine. ... It is no wonder that the Empire fell into ruin." n 

Conventional histories presented a picture of early Christians as 
peaceable souls, unjustly persecuted. This picture could only have 
arisen because historical writing was monopolized by the church for 
many centuries, and there was no compunction about changing or 
falsifying records. Pagan Rome didn't persecute religious minorities. 
"It never disputed the existence or reality of other deities, and the 
addition of a new member to the Pantheon was a matter of indiffer- 
ence. . . . [A]U deities of all peoples were regarded as but manifestations 
of the one supreme deity." Dionysus, Venus, and Priapus were 
honored co-residents of the temple of Isis in Pompeii. Italian and Greek 
deities mixed together in the temple of Mithra at Ostia. 12 All deities 
were willing to co-exist except the Christian one. The Christian church 
alone "has always held the toleration of others to be the persecution 
of itself." 1J As early as 382 a.d., the church officially declared that any 
opposition to its own creed in favor of others must be punished by the 
death penalty. 14 

Contrary to the conventional mythology, Christians were not 
prosecuted under Roman law for being Christians but for committing 
civil crimes. 15 They caused riots, "often tumultuously interrupted the 
public worship, and continually railed against the national religion." 16 
They seem to have been guilty of vandalism and arson. The Great Fire 

Dark Age 


Daik Age in 64 a.d. was set by Christians who were "anxiously waiting for the 

world to end by fire and who did at times start fires in order to prompt 
^^^^^^^^^^^ God." 17 Crying that the world would end at any moment, Christian 
fanatics sometimes developed the notion that starting the fires of the 
final holocaust would redound to their credit in heaven. 18 At least one 
saint was canonized for no particular reason other than having been an 
arsonist: St. Theodore, whose sole claim to fame was burning down 
the temple of the Mother of the Gods. 19 

The decline of Roman civilization and the onset of the Dark Age 
was the period Gilbert Murray characterized as the western world's 
failure of nerve. It marked the transition of the west from a position of 
cultural leadership to one of regressed barbarism, and transformed 
Europe into what is now known as an "undeveloped area." 20 Intellect, 
taste, and imagination disappeared from art and literature. Rather 
than broadening the western mind, its church crippled that mind by 
allowing childish superstitions to flourish in an atmosphere of igno- 
rance and unreason. 21 Suppression of the teaching priestess or alma 
materled to an eclipse of education in general. 

Many scholars fled from Christian persecutions eastward to Iran, 
where the Sassanid king helped them found a school of medicine and 
science. This was the world's intellectual capital for two centuries. 22 
Already in 529, when Justinian closed the Athenian schools, Helle- 
nistic learning had been dispersed to Sassanian Persia, Gupta India, ant 
Celtic Ireland. 23 

Church historians have claimed nothing of real value was lost in 
the destruction of pagan culture. Modern scholars disagree. The 
havoc that afflicted art, science, literature, philosophy, engineering, 
architecture, and all other fields of achievement has been likened to 
the havoc of the Gigantomachia as if the crude giants overthrew the 
intelligent gods. The widespread literacy of the classical period 
disappeared. Aqueducts, harbors, buildings, even the splendid Roman 
roads fell into ruin. It has been pointed out that centuries of 
devastating war could hardly have shattered Roman civilization as 
effectively as did its new obsession with an ascetic monotheism. 24 

Books and artworks were destroyed because they expressed un- 
christian ideas and images. 25 The study of medicine was forbidden, 
on the ground that all diseases were caused by demons and could be 
cured only by exorcism. This theory was still extant in the time of 
Pope Alexander III, who forbade monks to study any techniques of 
healing other than verbal charms. 26 Under the Christian emperors, 
educated citizens were persecuted by the illiterate who claimed their 
books were witchcraft texts. Often, "magical" writings were planted 
by Christian magistrates for the sake of the financial rewards they 
received when they caught and executed heretics a system the 
Inquisition also used to advantage in later centuries. Priestesses were 
especially persecuted, because they were female, wealthy, and laid 
claim to spiritual authority. 27 

Fathers of the church seemed cynically aware that public igno- 


ranee worked in their favor. Gregory of Nazianzus wrote to St. Jerome: 
"A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose upon the people. The 
less they comprehend, the more they admire. Our forefathers and 
doctors have often said, not what they thought, but what circumstances 
and necessity dictated." 28 

Lactantius declared that pagan temples should be torn down 
because, in them, "The demons are attempting to destroy the 
kingdom of God, and by means of false miracles and lying oracles are 
assuming the appearance of real gods." 29 It was dangerous to leave 
the temples intact, even when they were converted into Christian 
churches. The temple of the Mother of Heaven at Carthage was 
made over into a church, but in 440 a.d. the bishop discovered that the 
Carthaginians were actually making their devotions to the old God- 
dess, and ordered the entire temple area leveled to the ground. 30 

Ignorance was helpful to the spread of the faith; so ignorance 
was fostered. Knight says, "Men are superstitious in proportion as they 
are ignorant, and . . . those who know least of the principles of 
religion are the most earnest and fervent." 31 In keeping western Europe 
as ignorant as possible, however, the church lost much of its history. 
Even contemporary events went inaccurately reported, or altogether 
unnoted. Events of the past were absurdly garbled. All the public 
knew of history was provided by bards, who tried to maintain the druidic 
tradition of rote-learning, with indifferent success. They taught, for 
example, that Alexander the Great made an expedition to the Garden 
of Eden, where he was instructed by the poet-magician Virgil, by 
"Monsignor St. Paul," and by "Tholomeus" (Ptolemy), king of Egypt. 
They taught that Julius Caesar was a king of Hungary and Austria, 
and a prince of Constantinople; his mother was the Valkyrie Brunn- 
hilde, a daughter of Judas Maccabeus; he married Morgana, the 
Fairy Queen, and became the father of Oberon and St. George. 32 

The field of natural science was in even worse disorder. Learned 
books taught that mice do not reproduce like other mammals but are 
generated spontaneously and asexually from "the putrefaction of the 
earth"; that wasps produce themselves out of a dead horse and bees 
out of a dead calf; that a crab deprived of its legs and buried will turn 
into a scorpion; that some mammals, such as hares, can change from 
one sex to the other; that a duck dried into powder and placed in water 
will generate frogs; that a duck baked and buried will generate toads; 
that asparagus is produced from buried shavings of ram's horn; that 
scorpions can be created from garden basil rubbed between two 
stones; that rain and lightning can be raised by burning a chameleon's 
liver on a rooftop; that no fleas can breed where a man scatters dust 
dug up from his right footprint in the place where he heard the first 
springtime call of a cuckoo. 33 Because the very idea of experimenta- 
tion to test hypotheses had been replaced by credulous reliance on 
theological authority, even notions that would have been simple to 
test remained untested. 

As for more complex hypotheses, they were beyond the ken of 

Dark Age 


David, Saint theologians. Pagan thinkers long ago understood the shape of the 

earth, and even calculated its approximate circumference with only a 

^ ^^ m small error. But Lactantius and other learned churchmen called this 

field of endeavor "bad and senseless," and proved by quoting the Bible 
that the earth was flat. 34 

The most thoroughly Christianized nations hardly began to recov- 
er from the church's eclipse of learning until the present century. In 
Spain for example, the tradition of book-burning became an integral 
part of the auto-da-fe in 1 502. It was against the law for any layman 
to read any book not approved by the bishops. 35 To own vernacular 
copies of either Testament of the Bible was punishable by burning at 
the stake. 36 Reading declined to almost nothing. What few grammar 
schools existed were only "superficial preparation for the priesthood." 
Still, many priests were illiterate. General education was attempted only 
after the revolutions of 1834 and 1855, when the monasteries were 
suppressed. Yet in 18%, more than two-thirds of the population were 
still unable to read or write. 37 

Spanish suspicion of books carried over into the New World, and 
deprived anthropologists and archeologists of literary treasures that 
might have shed much light on pre-Columbian civilizations. Spanish 
friars "converted" the Maya of Yucatan in 1 562, by their usual 
forceful methods, such as torture and burning. They fed the fires with 
hundreds of Maya sacred books which, had they survived, would 
have greatly assisted modern scholars to unravel the mysteries of Mayan 
script. The friars said the natives were "greatly afflicted" by the loss of 
their scriptures; but as far as the friars could see, these books "contained 
nothing in which there was not to be seen superstition and lies of the 
devil, so we burned them all." 58 

1. H. Smith, 254. 2. Male, 355. 3. H. Smhh, 228, 253; de Camp, A.E.. 283, 264. 

4. Doane, 436, 447. 5. Angus, 280. 6. J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 173. 

7. de Camp, A.E., 93. 8. Pepper & Wilcock, 90, 288. 9. Thomson, 352. 

10. H.Smith, 203. 1 1 . B. RusseO, 344. 12. Angus, 190-92. 13Couhon,91. 

14.Robbins.498. 15. Phillips, 152. 16. Knight, D.W.P, 111. 

17. Lindsay, O.A., 277. 18.deCamp, A.E.,234. 19. de Voragine, 662. 

20. Campbell, Oc.M., 247, 455. 21. Cumont, O.R.R.P, 26. 

22. de Camp, A.E., 303. 23. Campbell, CM., 133. 

24. J.H. Smith. D.C.P., 4; de Camp, A.E.. 135, 264. 

25. Sadock, Kaplan & Freedman, 536. 26. White 1, 386. 27. Sdigmann, 70-73. 
28. Doane, 434. 29. Casuglioni, 215. 30. J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 229. 

3 1 . Knight, D.W.P., 31.32. Briffiroh 3, 432. 

33. Agrippa, 101, 108, 111, 122, 137, 148. 34. de Camp. A.E., 283. 

35. H. Smith, 259. 36. Lea, 20. 37. Couhon, 305-6. 38. Von Hagen, 432. 

David, Saint 

Patron saint of Wales, actually a pagan god Christianized in the 1 1th 
century a.d. He was the Welsh sea god worshipped as Dewi, from the 
Aryan devior deva, "deity." Though he was called a 6th-century 
bishop, nothing was written of him until 1090, more than 500 years 
later. His wholly unreliable biography was composed chiefly to 
support the Welsh bishops' independence at the time. 1 


The city now called St. David's used to be Menevia, "Way of the Death 

Moon," the same as Danish Manavegr and Irish E-Mania, the lunar 
paradise. 2 ^^^^^^^^^^^_ 

Symbol of David-Dewi was the Great Red Serpent, now the red 
dragon, Wales's national emblem. Like the phallic god Python or 
Oceanus encircling the World Egg, he may have been reddened by his 
union with the Moon-goddess Mab, who gave sovereignty to all her 
kings by staining them red. 3 

David's title, the Waterman, was explained by Christian scholars to 
mean he was a teetotaler. 4 Welsh sailors knew better; their traditions 
placed him in the depths of the sea. They called him Davy Jones, who 
like the sea god Mananann kept the souls of drowned seamen in his 
"locker." 5 

Waterman was a popular title for several ancient gods of waters 
besides Dewi: notably Ceadda, a Mercian god of medicinal springs, 
who was canonized twice (see Chad). 

Even in Christian disguise, David retained the sacred skills of a 
bard. It was claimed that his miraculous talent for harping and singing 
came from his lineal descent from the virgin Mary, of the ancient house 
of King David the Harpist, in the eighteenth generation. Mary was 
also identified with the Welsh sea-goddess Marian, Dewi's bride, 
receiver of the souls of the dead. Welsh bards called their death songs 
marwysgafen, the "giving to Mary," sung to send the funeral boat to the 
Isles of the Dead. 6 

Sometimes David was confused with Merlin, who allegedly harped 
and sang the stones of Stonehenge into their places. Some legends 
made David a bishop of Merlin's town, Caerleon. 7 Some said David 
was King Arthur's uncle. Like many mythical saints, he was given a 
long lifetime to demonstrate the health-giving virtues of Christian faith; 
he lived to the age of 140 years. 8 His mother was the same virgin 
temple-maiden who gave birth to nearly every ancient god; here she was 
St. Non (Holy Nun). 9 Two cities claimed his shrine, located not only 
at St. David's but also in the city of Chester, which used to be named 
Deva or Dewi. 10 

1. Attwater, 101-2. 2. Brewster, 121. 3. Rees, 75. 4. Attwater, 102. 
5. Phillips, 110. 6. Brewster, 120. 7. Brewster, 121. 8. Hazlitt, 168. 
9. Attwater, 102. 10. Cumont, M.M., 57. 


been said that Death came into existence only with the rise of 
man's consciousness, a roundabout way of saying death is more real for 
humans than for any other animal, because only humans foresee it. 1 
Religions owe their existence to the unique ability of the human animal 
to understand that it must die. 

Against this realization the forces of imagination are mustered to 
deny it. It's hard for any perceiving mind to perceive its own 


Death notbeing, with cessation of all perception. Worshippers of Kali managed 

to view the beyond-death state as Dreamless Sleep. 2 But most ancient 
^^^^^^^^^^^ people couldn't formulate an idea of non-perception. 

Even when the land of the dead was minimally stimulating, as in 
the Babylonian concept, it was perceptible to the senses. It was the 
House of Dust, and the end of the Road of No Return. The dead 
were clothed in feathers, like birds. "Dust is their food and clay their 
meat . . . , they see no light, they sit in darkness." Yet in the same 
House of Dust there were priests and kings ruling, and servants to carry 
the baked meats and pour water from water skins. 3 

Babylonian literature reveals a hope that eventually the right ritual 
cure for death will be discovered, rather as modern people hope for a 
cure for cancer. The recommended avenue of investigation was necro- 
mantic consultation with the dead themselves. "The quest for 
immortality was essentially the search for the right ritual, the knowledge 
of what to do in order to secure a continued existence of the body 
after death. This knowledge is possessed by the ancestors, and can only 
be obtained from them." 4 

Men have usually believed that knowledge of death can only come 
from those who have experienced it. Hence the initiatory procedures 
involving mock death, as among Siberian shamans, who experience in 
trances being torn apart and reduced to bare bones. "By thus seeing 
himself naked, altogether freed from the perishable and transient flesh 
and blood, he consecrates himself, in the sacred tongue of the 
shamans, to his great task, through that part of his body which will 
longest withstand the action of the sun, wind and weather, after he is 
dead. . . . [I]n certain Central Asian meditations that are Buddhistic and 
tantric in origin or at least in structure, reduction to the skeleton 
condition has . . . an ascetic and metaphysical value anticipating the 
work of time, reducing life by thought to what it really is, an 
ephemeral illusion in perpetual transformation." 5 

So vivid were the fantasies of the death-world that some Oriental 
sages prayed for sufficient conscious sense to realize that they were 
nothing more than inventions of the mind: "May I recognize whatever 
visions appear, as the reflections of my own consciousness. May I 
know them to be of the nature of apparitions in the intermediate State. 
May I not fear the troops of my own thought forms, the Peaceful 

Deities and the Wrathful May it come that all the Sounds will be 

known as one's own sounds; may it come that all the Radiances will . 1 
be known as one's own radiances." 6 

Tantric Buddhism proposed that the death world or Intermediate 
State could be controlled if one were prepared through carefully 
guided fantasy in life to retain memory, consciousness, and the goal of 
choosing for one's self the right "womb-door" for a better reincarna- 
tion. 7 Living and dying were only complementary aspects of the same 
cycle, both requiring proper education. "Material life moves between 
two poles," Bachofen says. "Its realm is not that of being but that of 


becoming and passing away, the eternal alternation of two colors, the 
Lvhite of life and the black of death. Only through the equal mixture of 
!he two is the survival of the material world assured. Without death 
ho rejuvenation is possible ... the positive power cannot for one mo- 
htient exist without the negative power. Death, then, is not the 
bpposite but the helper of life." 8 

The Great Goddess was intimately involved in every manifestation 
pf death as she was in those of life, which is why she had an 
['emanation" for each fatal disease, such as Mari-Amma, Ankamma, 
Mutteyalamma, etc. Her priestesses supported and taught the dying. 
'As among the gods, so among the mortals was death everywhere 
voman's business. A woman is said to have invented the wailing for 
he dead. . . . Women cradle the infant and the corpse, each to its 
^articular new life." 9 

Romans thought death should be kept in mind at all times, 
specially when life at its peak might make one forget the other, 
qually necessary part of the cycle. When a military hero entered Rome 
n triumphal procession, riding in a golden chariot, hailed as a god in 
he ancient equivalent of a ticker-tape parade, a person wearing the 
nask and costume of Death stood at his shoulder, preserving him 
rom the sin of hubris by saying each moment in his ear, "Man, 
emember you will die." 10 

Paganism fostered the Tantric idea of growth and decline in 
ecurrent cycles. "The old fertility gods did not shrink from the fact 
>f death; they sought no infantile evasion, but promised rebirth and 
enewal." u Christianity on the other hand denied that members of 
ts sect could die. Early Christians who died were said to have "fallen 
sleep," soon to wake up again with the second coming of Christ. A 
norbid anxiety often accompanied ritual denial. Kermode says, "Chris- 
ianity of all the great religions is the most anxious, is the one which 
aid the most emphasis on the terror of death." 12 

Sometimes fear became obsession, in a love-hate relationship with 
eath. In the Secret Book of James, Jesus recommended suicide, 
marking that the kingdom of death could only belong to those who 
>ut themselves to death, and no one who avoided this duty could be 
aved. 13 

Obsession flowered into a thousand elaborate death customs and 
ituals aimed at encapsulating the phenomenon, separating it from 
rdinary life experience so its inevitability need not be fully understood, 
n Frazer's opinion such customs and rituals have been the most 
wasteful ever seen in any society: 

No belief has done so much to retard the economic and thereby the social 
progress of mankind as has the belief in the immortality of the soul; for 
this belief has led race after race, generation after generation, to sacrifice 
the real wants of the living to the imaginary wants of the dead. The 
waste and destruction of life and property which this faith has entailed are 
enormous and incalculable. ' 4 


Secret Book of 
James One of the so- 
called Gnostic 
Gospels discovered at 
Nag Hammadi in 
Upper Egypt, 1945, 
purporting to have 
been written by the 
apostle James. 


Death Pagan philosophers' acceptance of death may have been more 

practical than the elaborate denials that arose later. With a somber but 

^________ _ courageous serenity, Euripides stated the pagan idea that opinions on 

death are not possible: 

But if any far-off state there be 

Dearer to life than mortality 

The hand of the Dark hath hold thereof, 

And mist is under the mist above; 

So we are sick for life, and cling 

On earth to this nameless and shining thing, 

For other life is a fountain sealed, 

And the deeps below are unrevealed, 

And we drift on legends for ever. IS 

Because they were westerners, the Greek philosophers have 
been given more credit for originality than they deserved. Actually, their 
opinions of death and its implications for the living were largely taken 
from Oriental sages who evolved them first. Greek notions of the 
Dreamless Sleep, of reincarnation, of the four ages of man including 
the primordial Age of Giants, all were derived from Oriental sources. 
Tantric sages spoke of the faraway Golden Age when all men were 
giants and lived lifetimes of about a thousand years each, because they 
were nearer in time to the world's creation, when the Goddess's 
nourishing birth blood was more abundant and the knowledge of her 
was more intimate among her children. As the Bible said, there were 
giants in the earth in those days (Genesis 6:4). 16 

The same long-lived giants were identified with their own ances- 
tors by the authors of Genesis. The Hindu concept of human 
longevity in the Golden Age was copied into the Bible as a quality of the 
early patriarchs not quite a thousand years apiece, but at least more 
than nine centuries. Adam lived to be 930 years old; Seth 912 years; 
Enos 905 years; and so on, the champion being Methusaleh at 969 
years (Genesis 5). 

However long delayed, though, death must come, and that was the 
thought that patriarchal thinkers found unacceptable. The older 
matriarchal religions were more realistic in their acceptance of death, 
making it the sage's duty to realize the ugliness, corruption, and 
decay in nature as fully as he might realize its beauty: to accord death 
the same value as birth. The two were of equal importance, as two 
passages through the same Door: one coming out, the other going in. 
Different forms of the Goddess represented the idea. On the one 
hand she was the beautiful nubile Virgin or the tender nurturing 
Mother; on the other hand she was a hideous ghoul, herself corpse- 
like and a devourer of corpses and these two forms of her were to be 
adored equally. Avalon justly remarked that in the west, "the terrible 
beauty of such forms is not understood"; missionaries could only 
describe the Death-goddess as a she-devil. 17 Yet, for the enlightened, 


"This fanged and bloody Goddess is the same as the other, the beautiful Deborah 

) mother and lover. To be able to superimpose and adore both images Delilah 

! in one is perhaps the solidest beginning on the road of sadhana." 18 ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Some individuals in western culture arrived more or less indepen- 
jdently at the vision of this archetypal female death spirit. Wherever 
there was a concept of Mother Nature, it could hardly fail to be noticed 
that it was natural to die, and the roots of every flower lay in organic 
rot. Coleridge spoke of the "Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH" as a 
(woman. Keats described himself as "half in love with easeful Death." 
iLike the Oriental sages, Alfred de Vigny perceived Death as a maternal 
[Goddess: "O Death divine, at whose recall / Returneth all / To fade 
in thy embrace, / Gather thy children to thy bosom starred, / Free us 
from time, from number, and from space, / And give us back the rest 
that life hath marred." 19 

I. von Franz, pi. 7. 2. Campbell, CM., 347. 3. Epic of Gilgamesh, 92. 

4. Hooke, S P., 55. 5. Eliade, S., 63. 6. Campbell, M.I., 399; Bardo Thodol, 202. 

7. Bardo Thodol, 183. 8. Bachofen, 33-34. 9. Lederer, 126-27. 

10. Dumezil, 566. 1 1 . Mumford, 267. 1 2. Kermode, 27. 13. Pagels,90. 

14. Frazer, P.T., 52. 15. Angus, 230-3 1 . 16. Mahanirvanatantra, xlvii-xlviii. 

17. Avalon, 171. 18. Rawson, A.T., 1 12, 129. 19. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 94. 


Queen Bee," a ruler of Israel in the matriarchal period, bearing the 
same name as the Goddess incarnate in early Mycenaean and Anatolian 
ulers as "the Pure Mother Bee." ! Deborah lived under a sacred 
Dalm tree that also bore her name, and was identified with the maternal 
Tree of Life, like Xikum, the Tree of Ishtar. The Bible called her a 
'prophetess" or "judge" to disguise the fact that she was one of the 
governing matriarchs of a former age (Judges 4:4). 

One of Deborah's alternate names was Jael, "the Goddess Jah," 
wssibly the same one patriarchal Persians called Jahi the Whore, an 
arlier feminine form of Yahweh. 2 

1. Sobol, 138; Neumann, CM., 267. 2. Albright, 23. 


'She Who Makes Weak," a name compounded of De (daleth), the 
'onic Door, and lilu, the lotus, another yonic symbol. She was the 
Goddess who "weakened" the sun god every day and sent him to his 
leath on the wheel that turned him under the earth. In the case of 
>amson who was the sun god Shams-On, or Shamash it was the 
nill wheel. In the case of Heracles, another name for the same solar 
leity, it was Omphale's wheel: the omphalos often represented by the 
osmic yoni. 


Delphi Delphi 


"Womb"; Greece's oldest, most famous oracle, where Mother Earth 
was worshipped under the name of Delphyne, the Womb of Creation, 
along with her serpent-son and consort Python. 1 At various times the 
oracle was said to belong to the Sea-goddess, or the Moon-goddess, 
various designations of the same primal Mother, whose priestess- 
daughters, the Pythonesses, controlled the rites. Eventually the 
patriarchal god Apollo took it over, retaining the Pythonesses, but 
claiming to have placed the Serpent in his underground uterine cave, 
whence came the oracle's inspiration. Apollo murdered the priestess 
Delphyne, and held the oracle until it was closed by the Christian 
emperor Theodosius. After him, Arcadius had the temple entirely 

1. Graves, CM. 1,80. 


Greek meter is "mother." De is the delta, or triangle, a female- 
genital sign known as "the letter of the vulva" in the Greek sacred 
alphabet, as in India it was the Yoni Yantra, or yantra of the vulva. 1 
Corresponding letters Sanskrit dwr, Celtic duir, Hebrew daleth 
meant the Door of birth, death, or the sexual paradise. 2 Thus, 
Demeter was what Asia called "the Doorway of the Mysterious Femi- 
nine ... the root from which Heaven and Earth sprang." ? In 
Mycenae, one of Demeter's earliest cult centers, tholos tombs with their 
triangular doorways, short vaginal passages and round domes, repre- 
sented the womb of the Goddess from which rebirth might come. 
Doorways generally were sacred to women. In Sumeria they were 
painted red, representing the female "blood of life." 4 In Egypt, door- 
ways were smeared with real blood for religious ceremonies, a custom 
copied by the Jews for their Passover rites. 

The triangle-door-yoni symbolized Demeter's trinity. Like all the 
oldest forms of the basic Asiatic Goddess she appeared as Virgin, 
Mother, and Crone, or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer, like Kali-Cunti 
who was the same yoni-mother. Demeter's Virgin form was Kore, 
the Maiden, sometimes called her "daughter," as in the classical myth 
of the abduction of Kore, which divided the two aspects of the 
Goddess into two separate individuals. Demeter's Mother form had 
many names and titles, such as Despoena, "the Mistress"; Daeira, 
"the Goddess"; the Barley-Mother; the Wise One of Earth and Sea; or 
Pluto, "Abundance." This last name was transferred to the male 
underworld god said to have taken the Maiden into the earth-womb 
during the dark season when fields lay fallow. But this was a late, 
artificial myth. The original Pluto was female, and her "riches" were 
poured out on the world from her breasts. 5 

The Crone phase of Demeter, Persephone-the-Destroyer, was 


identified with the Virgin in late myth, so the Maiden abducted into 
the underworld was sometimes Kore, sometimes Persephone. Some of 
the Destroyer's other, earlier names were Melaina, the Black One; 
Demeter Chthonia, the Subterranean One; or The Avenger (Erinys). 
Her black-robed, mare-headed idol, her mane entwined with Gorgon 
snakes, appeared in one of her oldest cave-shrines, Mavrospelya, the 
Black Cave, in Phigalia (southwest Arcadia). She carried a dolphin 
I and a dove, symbols of womb and yoni. Like the devouring death- 
goddess everywhere, she was once a cannibal. She ate the flesh of 
Pelops, then restored him to life in her cauldron. 6 She was as fearsome 
as every other version of the Crone. The legendary medieval Night- 
Mare an equine Fury who tormented sinners in their sleep was 
based on ancient images of Mare-headed Demeter. 

Her cult was already well established at Mycenae in the 1 3th 
century B.C. and continued throughout Greece well into the Chris- 
tian era, a length of time almost equal to the lifespan of Christianity 
itself. 7 Her temple at Eleusis, one of the greatest shrines in Greece, 
became the center of an elaborate mystery-religion. Sophocles wrote, 
"Thrice happy they of men who looked upon these rites ere they go 
to Hades's house; for they alone there have true life." Aristides said, 
"The benefit of the festival is not merely the cheerfulness of the 
moment and the freedom and respite from all previous troubles, but also 
the possession of happier hopes concerning the end, hopes that our 
life hereafter will be the better, and that we shall not lie in darkness and 
filth the fate that is believed to await the uninitiated." Isocrates said: 
"Demeter . . . being graciously minded towards our forefathers because 
of their services to her, services of which none but the initiated may 
hear, gave us the greatest of all gifts, first, those fruits of the earth which 
saved us from living the life of beasts, and secondly, that rite which 
makes happier the hopes of those that participate therein concerning 
both the end of life and their whole existence." 8 

Eleusis meant "advent." Its principal rites brought about the 
advent of the Divine Child or Savior, variously named Brimus, 
Dionysus, Triptolemus, Iasion, or Eleuthereos, the Liberator. Like the 
corn, he was born of Demeter-the-earth and laid in a manger or 
winnowing basket. 9 His flesh was eaten by communicants in the form of 
bread, made from the first or last sheaves. His blood was drunk in the 
form of wine. Like Jesus, he entered the Earth and rose again. 
Communicants were supposed to partake of his immortality, and 
after death they were known as Demetreioi, blessed ones belonging to 
Demeter. 10 

Revelations were imparted to the initiate through secret "things 
heard, things tasted, and things seen." " This formula immediately 
calls to mind the three admonitory monkeys covering ears, mouth, and 
eyes, supposed to illustrate the maxim, "Hear no evil, speak no evil, 
see no evil." Was the "evil" a secret descended from Eleusinian 
religion? Demeter was worshipped as "the Goddess" by Greek 



Demetra, Saint peasants all the way through the Middle Ages, even up to the 19th 

century at Eleusis where she was entitled "Mistress of Earth and 

^^^^^^^^^^^ Sea." In 1801 two Englishmen named Clarke and Cripps caused a riot 
among the peasants by taking the Goddess's image away to a 
museum in Cambridge. 12 

Early Christians were much opposed to the Eleusinian rites 
because of their overt sexuality, even though their goal was "regener- 
ation and forgiveness of sins." 13 Asterius said, "Is not Eleusis the scene 
of descent into the darkness, and of the solemn acts of intercourse 
between the hierophant and the priestess, alone together? Are not the 
torches extinguished, and does not the large, the numberless assem- 
bly of common people believe that their salvation lies in that which is 
being done by the two in the darkness?" H Fanatic monks destroyed 
the temple of these sexual mysteries in 396 a.d., but the site remained 
holy to the Goddess's votaries, and the ceremonies were carried on 
there and elsewhere. 15 

Rustics never ceased believing that Demeter's spirit was manifest 
in the final sheaf of the harvest, often called the Demeter, the Corn 
Mother, the Old Woman, etc. At harvest festivals it was often dressed in 
woman's clothing and laid in a manger to make the cattle thrive. 16 
Secret anti-Christian doctrines of medieval Freemasonry also drew 
some symbolism from the cults of the ancient Mistress of Earth and 
Sea, particularly the masonic sacred image of Plenty: "an ear of corn 
near a fall of water." 17 The ultimate Mystery was revealed at Eleusis 
in "an ear of corn reaped in silence" a sacred fetish that the Jews 
called shibboleth. 18 

1. Mahanirvanatantm, 127. 2. Gaster, 302. 3. de Riencourt, 175. 4. Hays, 68. 
5. Graves, W.G., 1 59, 406; CM. 1,61; G.M. 2, 25. 6. Graves, G.M. 2, 30. 
7. Encyc. Brit, "Demeter." 8. Lawson, 563-64. 9. Graves, W.G., 159. 
10. Angus, 172. 11. H. Smith, 127. 12. Lawson, 79, 89-92. 13. Angus, 97. 
14. Lawson, 577. 15. Angus, vii. 16. Frazer,G.B.,473. 17. Elworthy, 105. 

Demetra, Saint 

As was the rule with other manifestations of the Great Goddess, there 
was an attempt to Christianize Demeter by making a saint of her. 
Though the church refused to canonize "St. Demetra" officially, yet 
she remained a great favorite of the people, who told miracle-tales about 
her and prayed to her as fervently as if she were a certified member of 
the canon. 

The classic myth of Kore-Persephone and Demeter was retold as a 
popular fairy tale centering on St. Demetra. The saint's daughter 
(Kore) was kidnapped by "a wicked Turkish wizard" (Hades) and 
locked up in a tower. A young hero rescued her, but perished 
miserably, chopped in pieces by the wizard and hung from the tower's 
walls "between heaven and earth." Guided by a stork (her ancient 
totemic bird of birth), St. Demetra arrived on the scene, reassembled 


the hero, and brought him back to life. Several elements of this story Demon 

were repeated in the Germanic fairy tale of Rapunzel. 

A masculinized version of Demeter or perhaps one of her 

Demetreioi was accepted into the canon as a "St. Demetrius," of 
no known date, and no real biography. His legend, established in the 
late Middle Ages, made him a warrior saint like the equally mythical 
St. George. The basic story was invented to publicize his healing relics 
preserved at Salonika. 2 

1. Lawson, 80-84. 2. Attwater, 102. 


From Greek daimon, a personal familiar spirit or guardian angel, like 
the Roman genius, roughly synonymous with "soul." The daimon of a 
hero could undergo apotheosis, become a god, and rise to heaven to 
dwell among the stars. 

The medieval concept of the demon evolved from Christians' 
blanket condemnation of all pagan daimones, though they continued 
to believe implicitly in their existence. 1 Demons were usually consid- 
ered messengers and assistants of a single Devil, in the same 
relationship to him as angels to God. Yet they were also called "devils" 
and their master could be "the Demon." The terms were never 
clearly distinguished. 

Animals and people could be "demons," or could harbor demons 
within their bodies or minds. Sometimes, any alien group of people 
could be called demons. Europeans often visualized demons as black, 
like Negroes. 2 On the other hand, dark-skinned people like the 
Singhalese maintained that demons were white and hairy.* 

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, all bad weather and natural 
catastrophes were brought about by demons. He said, "It is a dogma 
of faith that demons can produce wind, storms, and rain of fire from 
heaven." Pope Eugene IV issued a bull against human "agents of 
Satan" who controlled weather-demons. Pope John XXII complained 
of wizards who tried to kill him through the agency of demons they 
sent into mirrors and rings. 4 

The church had several mutually contradictory theories about the 
origin of demons. One theory said they were the rebellious angels 
who fell with Lucifer, before the creation of Adam and Eve, so the 
principle of evil was ready in the garden of Eden to play the tempter's 
role. A second, incompatible theory said demons were created after 
human beings. They were begotten by the angels on the daughters of 
men (Genesis 6:4). "The majority opinion about the fall of the angels, 
held by St. Augustine and therefore accepted in the Middle Ages, 
was that it had occurred before the creation of Adam, but some of the 
old notion that the angels had fallen through lust for the daughters of 
men persisted to reinforce antifeminine prejudices." 5 


Demon Some authorities, familiar with the pagans' animal masks and 

animal-headed idols, said demons were an animal-like race created 
^^^^^^^^^^^ separately by God, ahd readily incarnate in animal form. Black goats, 
bulls, cats, or dogs could be demons. The Gaelic uile-bheist (Yule- 
beast, moon-calf) was called a demonic animal. St. Ambrose told of a 
certain priest who exorcised the frogs in a certain marsh to stop them 
from croaking during mass. A thirteenth-century bishop of Lausanne 
exorcised all the eels in Lake Leman. 6 St. Augustine confidently 
asserted that demons help sorcerers to perform their magic, and have 
the power to assume many animal shapes. 7 

At Basel in 1474, a rooster committed the unnatural crime of 
laying an egg. It was decided that the bird possessed a demon, but 
exorcism failed to remove it. So the unfortunate rooster was solemnly 
sentenced to death by church authorities, and burned at the stake. 8 

Greeks still believe in the half-horse demons, kallikantzari, de- 
scended from ancient centaurs and the shape-shifting horse-wizards 
of India, the kinnaras, "canterers" who used to live on the holy 
moilntain of Mandara. 9 Their descendants perhaps founded the city 
of Kallipolis (Gallipoli). Their chief is still called the Lame Devil, 
recalling lame Amazonian smith-gods like Hephaestus. Until recently 
it was thought any child born on Christmas Day would become a 
kalhkantzaros. w A cruel custom arose from this belief. Children born 
on Christmas Day were carried to the market square, where their feet 
were thrust into a fire until the toenails were singed. 11 The magical 
purpose of this may have been to destroy the horse-demons' "hoofs." 

Records of witch trials show that almost any kind of animal could 
be perceived as a demon. Witches were executed because a neigh- 
bor's child was frightened by "the devil in the shape of a dog"; or 
because a man saw "a Thing like unto a rat" run out of a woman's 
house; or because a woman kept "two devils in the form of colts"; or be- 
cause a neighbor saw "the devil in the form of a toad" in a woman's 
garden; or because a traveler saw "a Thing like a black cow" near the 
house of the accused; or because children heard a woman "talk to the 
devil in the form of a frog." One woman was condemned because 
neighbors heard near her house at night a "foul yelling, like a number 
of cats." No one seems to have suggested that the yelling was in fact 
done by cats, not demons. 

Ursula Kemp was hanged in 1 581 on the evidence of her own 8- 
year-old son, who testified that she kept four demons: two cats, a 
toad, and a black lamb. 12 Not once in the recorded trials did authorities 
question witnesses' ability to distinguish these demons from ordinary 
animals. It was taken for granted that anyone, even a small child, could 
recognize His Satanic Majesty no matter how cleverly he disguised 
himself as an apparently normal beast. 

Several popes were believed to have familiar demons of their own, 
particularly the famous Honorius, long remembered as a magician. 
During the controversy between Pope Boniface VIII and Philip IV of 


France, the king held an assembly that formally deposed the pope Demon 

and presented evidence to prove that he was a sorcerer with a familiar 

spirit. 13 ^^_ ^_^____ 

Sometimes, in the description of demons, imagination failed and 
had to fall back on popular make-believe. One poor wretch named 
Margot de la Barre was burned at Paris in 1 391 for calling up a demon 
"in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Pressed 
to describe the demon under the stimulus of torture she could think 
of nothing better to say than that he had "the shape that demons take 
in Passion plays." 14 

It was often assumed that demons congregated especially in and 
around churches, for some inexplicable reason. Churches had to be 
exorcised at their dedication. Crosses were painted on the walls "to 
terrify the demons." 1S 

Houses were similarly protected by many crosses and crucifixes 
but, nevertheless, harbored many demons, a belief that betrayed little 
trust in the alleged powers of the crucifix. The custom of ringing church 
bells at the time of a death was supposed to drive away demons "who 
stood at the bed's foot, and about the house, ready to seize their prey, or 
at least to molest and terrify the soul in its passage, but by the ringing 
of that bell (for Durandus informs us evil spirits are much afraid of 
bells), they were kept aloof: and the soul, like a hunted hare, gained 
the start." Tolling the church's largest bell commanded a higher price, 
"for that, being louder, the evil spirits must go farther off, to be clear 
of its sound, by which the poor Soul got so much more the start of 
them." 16 

Before the witchcraft mania set in about the 12th and 1 3th 
centuries, there was a general understanding that demons were 
nothing more than the old gods and goddesses, all of whom had animal 
incarnations of some kind. Christian fathers insisted that the pagan 
deities were not figments of imagination, but real, living demons. 
Learned men even in the 19th century still believed this. Rawlinson, 
the translator of Herodotus, was sure the oracle at Delphi was an evil 
spirit. 17 An early medieval baptismal formula demanded renunciation 
of "relations with the demon," defining the old religion as "works of the 
demon, and all his words, and Thor, and Odin, and Saxnot, and all 
evil beings that are like them." 18 Such formalities were largely ignored. 
Centuries later, holiday dancers included personifications of the 
Horned God and the Scandinavian Julebuk (Yule Buck), which church- 
men denounced as "the devil himself." 19 Monastic writers of the 
1 1th century spoke of many demons who constantly tempted people 
away from the church, showing them "delights and secrets, such as 
how they might become immortal." 20 It was clear that they spoke of a 
rival religion. 

A Spanish Dominican, Raymond of Tarrega, said demons were 
useful for punishing sinners in hell; like angels, demons performed 
God's will. It was permissible to adore demons "so long as we adore, not 


Denis, Saint their evil, but their existence, which was given them by God. It is not 

Devi desirable to sacrifice to demons, but to do so is no more serious than 

^^^^^^^^^^^ adoring an image of Christ or of the saints." 21 Later this opinion was 
rejected, and the Inquisition burned Raymond's book. 

I. Rose, 1 10, 137. 2. J.B. Russell, 1 14. 3. Briffault 3, 283. 

4. White 1,337, 351, 384. 5. J.B. Russell, 108-9. 6. White 2, 113. 

7. J.B. Russell, 56. 8. H. Smith, 294. 9. O'Flaherty, 275. 10. Lawson, 190. 

II. Summers, V, 184. 12. Ewen, 157. 13. J.B. Russell, 187. 
14. J.B. Russell, 214. Voragine, 776. 16. Ha/litt, 479. 

17. Halliday, 119. 18. J.B. Russell, 16, 67. 19. Miles, 202. 20. Joyce 1, 256. 
21. J.B. Russell, 206. 

Denis, Saint 

Christianized form of the god Dionysus in Paris. Like Orphic shrines 
of Dionysus, the shrine of St. Denis featured an oracular head. It was 
claimed that, having been beheaded at Montmartre (Martyr's 
Mount), Denis then carried his own head to his abbey. 1 

Some churchmen said Denis-Dionysus died in 250 a.d.; others 
assigned him to the 1st century; still others confused him with the 
equally mythical Dionysius the Areopagite. His two "companions in 
martyrdom" Rusticus and Eleutherius were only alternate epithets of 
the god Dionysus. 2 

1. Tuchman, p. 309. 2. Attwater, p. 104. 


"Whale of Der," a title of the Babylonian Fish-goddess, said to be the 
mother of Babylon's foundress, Queen Semiramis (Sammuramat). 1 
Derceto was the prototype of Jonah's whale, being the Great Fish 
who swallowed and gave rebirth to the solar god Oannes, or Joannes 
(Jonah). See Fish. 

1. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 497. 


"Goddess," the Sanskrit root word for many Indo-European names 
for the Great Mother. The teachings of Krishna or Shiva were ad- 
dressed to the Devi as interrogator of the catechism; she was also 
addressed as Dearly Beloved, the Shakti, a convention copied by the 
New Testament. Krishna's virgin mother was her "maiden" form, 
Devaki. The Goddess's title as "the Way leading to the Gods" was 
Devayani, the Divine Yoni. As the virgin mother of Mahavira she 
was Devananda, "Blessed Goddess." ' A Czech name for the Moon- 
goddess, Devana, came from the same root, as also the Latin Diana, 



Minoan Diwija, Serbian Diiwica, and the Roman Diviana all mean- 
ing "The Divinity." 2 

I. Larousse, 347. 2. Thorsten, 361. 



The words "devil" and "divinity" grew from the same root, Indo- 
European devi (Goddess) or deva (God), which became daeva (devil) in 
Persian. 1 Old English divell (devil) can be traced to the Roman 
derivative divus, divi: gods. 2 Thus it seems that, from the beginning, 
gods and devils were often confused with one another. 

Divine and devilish were relative terms, as the primary sense of 
Hebrew words for "good" and "evil" really meant "beneficial" and 
"hurtful." 3 Gods did "evil" things if angered; devils could do "good" 
things if they were pleased. One man's god was his enemy's devil. 
Armenians used to sacrifice one sheep to Christ at Easter time and thirty 
sheep to the devil, on the theory that the devil's influence in the here 
and now was greater. 4 

Such thinking was not unusual. Devils were often credited with 
beneficent magic. There was a devil who "maketh men witty, turneth 
all metals into the coin of the dominion, turneth water into wine, and 
wine into water, and blood into wine, and wine into blood, and a 
fool into a wise man and he leads 33 legions of demons." Another 
devil "perfectly teaches the virtues of the stars, he transformeth men, 
he giveth dignities, prelacies, and confirmations." Another devil "talketh 
of divine virtue, he giveth true answers of things present, past, and to 
come, and of the divinity, and of the creation, he deceiveth none, nor 
suffereth any to be tempted; he giveth dignities and prelacies." 5 

Even early Christians admitted that the "devils" worshipped in 
pagan temples were known to restore the sick to health. 6 Tertullian 
said, Diabolus simia Dei, the Devil imitates God; but in point of 
chronology there was some doubt about who was imitating whom. 7 

Judeo-Christian tradition attributed many "diabolic" acts to God. 
He was the sender of pestilence and famine. He created a terrible 
hell, and its demons, who tortured human souls on his orders. He 
caused violent storms, which were (and still are) called "acts of God." 
From the 1 5 th century on, the church sold waxen cakes, the Agnus 
Dei, stamped with a cross and advertised as sure protection against 
storms and other "acts of God"; thus God was incongruously invoked to 
combat himself. 8 

God even killed himself in the person of Christ, according to the 
pieological dogma that they were one and the same. On the other 
Biand, some claimed Christ was killed by "devilish" Jews. Though Jews 
(were carrying out God's ordained scheme of salvation, and doing 

Tertullian (Quintus 
Septimius Florens 
Tertullianus) Influential 
early Christian writer 
and father of the 
church, ca. 155-220 
a.d., born in Carthage 
of pagan parents. 


Devil God's will by executing Jesus, nevertheless theology exonerated God 

and blamed them. Though the Old Testament God did much "evil," 
^^^^^^^^^^ even destroying many thousands of his own helpless worshippers for 
trivial offenses (1 Samuel 6:19), yet churchmen seldom dared to 
accept the Bible's own presentation of God as the maker of evil: "I form 
the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the 
Lord do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7). On the basis of this scripture, 
some advanced the theory that God had deliberately created the devil 
before the beginning of the world, because a pre-existing evil principle 
was necessary to "test the faith" of the future human race. 9 Yet 
somehow, to make a devil was not evil if God did it. 

The Persians believed God and the devil were twin brothers, born 
simultaneously from the womb of the dualistic mother of Infinite 
Time, Zurvan. The devil (Ahriman) was cast down from heaven to the 
underworld only because his sacrifice, like Cain's, was not acceptable 
to the older deity. The heavenly god (Ahura Mazda) continued to reign 
in the heights because he knew how to make the right sacrifices. 

But the devil, not the god, was the true creator of the earth and all 
creatures in the mundane world of matter. Thus the Magi prayed to 
him for assistance in all worldly endeavors, and revered him as the 
source of their magic powers. Ahriman was worshipped in Roman 
times throughout northern Europe, identified with all chthonian gods 
like Pluto, Saturn, or Dis Pater. 10 In early Christian mystery-plays he 
appeared as a wonder-working spirit, one Saint Mahown. 11 

The Christian devil became a composite of ancient deities in a 
single Protean form. He had the goat-horns and hoofs of satyr-gods 
like Pan, Marsyas, and Dionysus; the trident of Neptune, Hades, or 
Shiva; the reptilian form of Leviathan, Python, or Ouroborus; the 
fiery form of Agni or Helios; the female breasts of Astarte-Ishtar; the 
wolf face of Dis, Feronius, or Fenrir; the quadruple wings of 
Babylonian cherubim; the bird claws of ancestral spirits, the aves; and all 
the god-names Christians had ever heard, including many secret 
names of their own God: Jupiter, Mercury, Minerva, Venus, Hades, 
Pluto, Baal-Zebub, Lucifer, Zeus Chthonios, Sabazius, Belial, Ado- 
nis, Sabaoth, Iao, Soter, Emmanuel, Sammael. 12 The devil could take 
any shape, even a human one: Pope Gregory IX described him as "a 
pale, black-eyed youth with a melancholy aspect." 1? At other times he 
was an animal composite, as on the Amulet of Bes: 

Naked genius with the head of Bes, flanked by seven heads of animals 
among whom are bull, lion, and ibis, and surmounted by atef crown 
with several horns; four wings; falcon-tail and crocodile-tail; four arms 
two arms stretched out along the wings hold lances and serpents, while 
the third on the left seizes a lion, the fourth on the right holds sceptre and I 
whip. The erect penis ends in a lionhead; there are lionmasks on the 
knees, the feet are given the form of jackal-heads with pointed ears and 
prolonged as coiled snakes. Bes stands on an ouroboros (cosmic 
serpent) which contains various animals: scorpion, crocodile, tortoise. M I 


The devil's popular nickname Old Scratch came from a Germanic Devil 

wood-spirit called a Scrat or Waldscrat, sometimes a protector of 

households known as Schraetlin or "little Scrat." The spirit inhabited 

a phallic amulet based on the bisexual lingam-yoni, as suggested by 
Anglo-Saxon scritta, Old English scrat, a hermaphrodite. Another 
nickname of the devil, Deuce, came from Gaulish gods called Dusii, a 
variation oldeus, "god." Again there was a hermaphroditic connota- 
tion, since "deuce" also meant "two." 15 

Some demonologists postulated seven devils, one for each of the 
seven deadly sins: Lucifer (pride), Mammon (avarice), Asmodeus 
(lechery), Satan (anger), Beelzebub (gluttony), Leviathan (envy) and 
Belphegor (sloth). Belial, a slightly less prestigious spirit, governed 
such "vessels of iniquity" as playing cards and dice. 16 

"Devils" and "the devil" were interchangeable. The devil was 
one, and also many: a monotheistic transformation of a polytheistic 
concept. Christian nations asserted that all other nations worshipped 
"devils" or "the devil" under many names. A 16th-century list of 
devil-worshipping countries included: Tartary, China, Lapland, Fin- 
land, the Northern Islands, the East Indies, Persia, Arabia, Anatolia, 
Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Russia, and Norway. 17 According to the 18th- 
century German theologian Johann Beaumont, any person anywhere 
in the world who "confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh" 
belongs to the devils. 18 

As God incarnated himself in earthly flesh, so the devil was 
supposed to incarnate himself in earthly flesh shortly before the 
coming of doomsday. This demonic being was usually called Antichrist. 
He would be known by his Christlike ability to perform healing 
miracles, such as restoring sight to the blind. 19 It was never explained 
how these demonic miracles were to be distinguished from holy ones. 
The coming of Antichrist was constantly announced, dozens of times in 
j each century. Canon Moreau and contemporary churchmen report- 
ed that Antichrist was born in 1 599 at Babylon, where the Jews 
acclaimed him as their Messiah. 20 Apparently he was identified with 
the Messianic Elijah for whom the Jews looked each year at Passover. 

If there were any devilish attributes on which most myths agreed, 
they were the rather godlike qualities of (1) superhuman intelligence, 
and (2) superhuman sexuality. Inquisitor Jean Bodin wrote, "It is 
certain that the devils have a profound knowledge of all things. No 
theologian can interpret the Holy Scriptures better than they can; no 
lawyer has more detailed knowledge of testaments, contracts and 
actions; no physician or philosopher can better understand the composi- 
tion of the human body, and the virtues of the heavens, the stars, 
birds and fishes, trees and herbs, metals and stones." Inquisitor Nicholas 
Remy said the devil had complete knowledge of everything human 
beings could not explain. "Everything which is unknown lies ... in the 
cursed domain of demonology; for there are no unexplained facts. 
Whatever is not normal is due to the Devil." 21 


Devil No Christian was permitted to disbelieve in the devil. His credibility 

rested on the same foundation as that of God. Indeed, the very 
^^^^^^^^^^^ m concept of salvation depended on the devil. If there had been no 
Tempter, there was no original sin, no fall, no hell, no need of a 
redeemer or a church. De Givry correctly said, "If the Satanic concept 
is tampered with, the whole edifice laboriously erected by the Fathers 
of the Church crumbles to the ground." 22 

The devil was essential to the dualistic theology that Christianity 
copied from Persia. If the world was divided between the forces of 
good and evil, an evil deity was necessary, otherwise evil would have to 
be blamed on God. Logically, a god couldn't be both all-good and all- 
powerful. If God could make a world without evil, and would not, he 
couldn't be all-good. If God wanted to make a world without evil, 
and could not, he couldn't be all-powerful. The only solution not a 
good one, but the only possible one was to supply God with an 
evenly matched adversary, to be responsible for evil. Thus theologians 
thought it the worst heresy, "contrary to the true faith," to suggest 
that devils existed only in the ignorant imagination. 23 The devil was so 
real to Martin Luther that he accosted him one evening and threw an 
inkpot at him. 24 

It was a severe theological problem to account for God's apparent 
helplessness to halt the devil's activity. Though Lucifer or Satan was 
supposed to have been utterly defeated and immobilized during the 
famous War in Heaven, yet he was so lively that the War seemed to 
have caused him nothing more than a momentary inconvenience. 
Theologians could only propose that God "permitted" the devil's 
freedom of action. They said, "It is not the witch's ointment nor her 
incantation that makes her forked stick fly through the air, but the 
power of the devil, allowed by God." 25 They never explained why the 
church punished what God allowed. 

Much semantic hairsplitting went into defining relationships be- 
tween the devil, God, and humanity, such as the distinction between 
sorcery and witchcraft. Sorcery was evoking spirits to "carry out those 
powers which God permitted the Devil." Witchcraft was evoking 
spirits to "commit acts against His ruling." In practice, a man who asked 
the devil to help him seduce a woman was not guilty of any crime, 
because sex was under the devil's jurisdiction, by God's order. Devils 
who killed children did nothing sinful, for God permitted them to kill 
children "in order to punish their parents." 26 On the other hand, a 
woman who tried to save her dying child with witch-herbs was 
mortally guilty and deserved the death penalty. 27 

Theologians argued that all works of witches were brought about 
by the devil with God's permission. Even a witch who did only good 
works, like healing the sick, must suffer the same death as a witch whose 
acts were harmful. 28 Thus witches were placed in a no-win situation. 
Once a man beat a witch for casting a spell on his son, and forced her to 
remove the spell. Pope Benedict XIV ruled that the witch committed 


a double sin by using the devil's power twice, even though she did it 
under coercion the second time. Benedict carefully stipulated that the 
man who beat her was entirely innocent of wrongdoing. 29 

The church created the idea that witches were the devil's helpers, 
involved in a vast plot to undermine Christian society. This theory 
was the real root of the witch mania. The people were generally 
indifferent to the priests' witch-hunting until this theory was forced 
on them by propaganda from the pulpit, which deliberately played on 
their fear of the devil after stimulating it in the first place. 50 

It sometimes happened that churchmen themselves consulted the 
devil, without paying the same penalties they inflicted on lay persons. 
Some miracle-working heretics were convicted by the bishop of Besan- 
con in 1 1 70, on the evidence of none other than Satan, interviewed 
by the bishop with the help of a priest skilled in necromancy. Satan 
assured the bishop that the accused were indeed his servants, so they 
were sent to the stake. 31 

The devil was useful to clergymen or anyone else seeking an 
excuse for lecherous behavior. According to one story: 

The devil transformed himself into the appearance of St. Silvanus, Bishop 
of Nazareth, a friend of St. Jerome. And this devil approached a noble 
woman by night in her bed and began first to provoke and entice her with 
lewd words, and then invited her to perform the sinful act. And when 
she called out, the devil in the form of the saintly Bishop hid under the 
woman 's bed, and being sought for and found there, he in lickerish 
language declared lyingly that he was Bishop Silvanus. On the morrow 
therefore, when the devil had disappeared, the holy man was scandal- 
ously defamed. 32 

Some sly fellows used the devil to defraud. There was a 
Cornishman who convinced his neighbors that he had sold his soul to 
the devil. Taking a few coins to the tavern each night, he pretended 
to receive money from the devil to pay for his drink. He would thrust his 
hat up the chimney, calling on his diabolic friend; and the coins 
appeared in his hat. The superstitious innkeeper wouldn't touch the 
devil's money, so the Cornishman drank all evening for free. 35 

The devilish pact was not a joke, however; it was an essential 
ingredient of the devil-mythology that killed millions during six 
centuries of witch-hunting. Yet it was logically absurd. If the devil 
received the soul of every sinner, as the church taught, he had no 
need to secure it with a "pact"; it would be his anyway. As for the 
sinners themselves, they seemed to derive little benefit from their side 
of the contract, as Scot pointed out: any woman in her right mind would 
reject the devil's bargain, saying, "Why should I hearken to you, 
when you will deceive me? Did you not promise my neighbor Mother 
Dutton to save and rescue her; and yet lo she is hanged?" 34 

Early in the Christian era there were no very severe punishments 
for making a pact with the devil. The Golden Legend tells of a young 
man who signed over his soul to the devil to win the love of a certain 



Devil lady. Later, St. Basil prayed over the young man and retrieved his 

contract, a piece of paper which dropped from an upper balcony of the 

^^^^^^^^^^_ church, "fluttered down through the air and fell into his hands, in the 
sight of all." The paper was torn up and the youth set free. 55 

Several popes were said to have made a diabolic pact, including 
one who may have ideological roots in a genuine pagan tradition: 
Silvester II. His real name was Gerbert de Aurillac. He grew up in a 
France still permeated by Dianic and druidic fairy-religion, where 
Aphrodite was worshipped at Rouen up to the 12th century, and the 
Moon-goddess's groves attracted pilgrims up to the 14th. Silvester 
chose a papal name meaning "spirit of the grove," and it was said he 
had a fairy mistress named Meridiana (Mary-Diana), who taught him 
the secrets of magic. 36 According to Cardinal Benno and William of 
Malmesbury, Silvester signed a pact with the devil to achieve the 
papal throne, and the devil gave it to him. 37 

The truth about Pope Silvester was that he had unusually intellec- 
tual tastes for his time. He remarked that, for the frustrations and 
difficulties of his life, "philosophy was the only cure." 38 In his time, 
"philosophy" didn't mean Christian theology. It meant pagan litera- 
ture, natural science, and Hermetism. 

The list of great wen in those centuries charged with magic . . . is 
astounding; it includes every man of real mark, and in the midst of 
them stands one of the most thoughtful popes, Silvester II (Gerbert), and 
the foremost of medieval thinkers on natural science, Albert the Great. 
It came to be the accepted idea that, as soon as a man conceived a wish to 
study the works of God, his first step must be a league with the devil. 39 

Another "devilish" philosopher was Heinrich Cornelius Agrip- 
pa von Nettesheim, historiographer to Emperor Charles V, author of 
the famous treatise on Hermetism, De occulta philosophia. The 
church execrated his works and severely reprimanded him for trying to 
defend accused witches, but his wealthy patrons protected him from 
arrest: only once he was imprisoned for debt, not heresy. 40 He called 
magic the perfect science, and implied as the Gnostic heretics did 
that knowledge came to man not as a gift of God but as a gift of the 

Agrippa's life story contributed to the legend of Faust, around 
which centered many thrilling tales of the devil's pact. The real Faust 
was not impressive. As an obscure schoolmaster in Kreuznach, he was 
dismissed from his post in 1 507 on a charge of sodomy. 41 Six years 
later he reappeared as an astrologer and soothsayer calling himself the 
Demigod of Heidelberg. Later, citizens of Munster knew him as "the 
famous necromancer, Dr. Faustus." Ultimately, his fame rested not on 
any of his doings but on the so-called Faustian books, Hb'llenzwange, 
"Harrowings of Hell," which he didn't write. These anonymous works 
grew into a large body of literature professing to tell the reader how to 
make a pact with the devil, work magic, find buried treasure, win love 
and fortune, and finally renounce the pact in time to save one's soul. 


Predictably, such books were enormously popular. Two books really 
written by Agrippa von Nettesheim to win the favor of Margaret of 
Austria, The Superiority of Women and The Nobility of the Female 
Sex, were declared heretical and forbidden publication by the clergy. 42 

Magic books nearly always gave formulae for negotiating with the 
devil. Le Dragon Rouge told the aspiring wizard to address "Emper- 
or Lucifer, master of all the rebellious spirits," and his ministers 
Lucifuge Rofocale, Prince Beelzebub, and Count Ashtoreth. 4B Mag- 
ic Papyri that had been early models for these books often confused the 
names and attributes of Jehovah and Lucifer, speaking of "God the 
light-bringer (Lucifer), invincible, who knoweth what is in the heart of 
all life, who of the dust hath formed the race of men." 44 We have 
seen the same kind of confusion in Christian theology itself. Yet in 
14th-century Toulouse, witches were burned for saying what was 
actually a tenet of the church's dualism: that "God and the Devil were 
completely equal, the former reigning over the sky and the latter the 
earth; all souls which the Devil managed to seduce were lost to the 
Most High God and lived perpetually on earth or in the air." 45 

Even up to the 20th century, churchmen insisted on the devilish 
pact. Father Thurston wrote: "In the face of Holy Scripture and the 
teaching of the Fathers and theologians the abstract possibility of a pact 
with the Devil and of a diabolical interference in human affairs can 
hardly be denied." 46 But the Fathers and theologians never explained 
how the devil could profit from the pact, other than to receive a 
"soul" that was his anyway. As Samuel Butler said, no one heard the 
devil's side of any story, because God wrote all the books. 47 

One might think an "enlightened" modern society would have 
given up the idea of the devil. But a poll taken in 1978 showed "two 
out of five Americans believe in devils." 48 The strange viability of devils 
may arise from their usefulness in assuaging the guilt of God and 
man. "Both Judaism and Christianity have maintained that God must 
be given the credit for all the goodness in human history, and that 
men must take the blame for all the evil." 49 Thus, the real purpose of 
the devil was to take some of this heavy responsibility off frail human 
shoulders. In short: the devil, not Christ, was the true scapegoat who 
assumed the burden of men's sins. 

1. Larousse, 317. 2. Scot, 444. 3. Tennant, 13. 4. Briffault 2, 564. 

5. Scot, 323-25. 6. J.H. Smith, C.G., 287. 7. Summers, V, 56. 8. H. Smith, 276. 

9. J.B. Russell, 121. 10. Reinach, 72. 11. Hazlitt, 176. 

12. de Voragine, 670; Wedeck, 95. 13. Haining, 59. 

14. Lindsay, O. A., 197. 15. Knight, D.W.P., 152. 16. Robbins, 127. 

17. Scot, 521, 523. 18. Silberer, 286. 19. Gifford, 120. 

20. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 168. 21. Robbins, 127, 408. 22. de Givry, 49. 

23. Cavendish, P.E. 24, 139. 24. de Givry, 139. 25. Robbins, 213. 

26. J.B. Russell, 146. 27. Haining, 85. 28. Robbins, 213. 29. Summers, W, 36. 

30. Robbins, 218. 31. Lea, 2. 32. Kramer & Sprenger, 134. 

33. Hazlitt, 647. 34. Scot. 40. Voragine, 312. 36. Gaster, 771. 

37. Woods, 89. 38. Encyc. Brit, "Silvester." 39. White 1 , 386. 

40. Encyc. Brit, "Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius." 41. Encyc. Brit, "Faust." 

42. Seligmann, 212. 43. de Givry, 1 17. 44. Barrett, 32. 

45. Baroja, 85. 46. Summers, H.W, 63. 47. Ebon, W.T., 86. 

48. Newsweek, June 26, 1978, 32. 49. Muller, 87. 


Le Dragon Rouge, 
ou 1'art de 
commander les 
esprits celestes, 
aeriens, terrestres, 
infernaux A grimoire 
published at 
Avignon, dated 1 522. 
The date may have 
been a hoax, the actual 
publication much 

Magic Papyri 

Collections of 
invocations, charms, 
and spells widely 
circulated during the 
early Christian era, 
used as bases for later 
grimoires and 
Hermetic texts. 

Herbert Thurston, 

S.J. Early 20th-century 
writer on the subject 
of occultism. 


Diabokis Diabolus 


Latin name of the devil, "Serpent of the Goddess." Legend said the 
Great Mother made her serpent consort from a bolus of clay, rolled 
between her hands until it stretched into a snake form. Then she 
brought it to life. 1 Egyptians said Isis made a clay serpent in this way, 
and also a new clay phallus for Osiris. With this phallus that she 
made, she conceived Osiris's reincarnated persona, the infant Horus. 

The same bolus gave rise to the papal "bull," through the 
derivative bulla, a coiled clay seal on a document, usually stamped 
with magical signs to discourage tampering. The bulla was also a 
protective amulet worn by a Roman child before coming of age. 2 

1. Graves, CM. 1,27. 2.Gifford,71. 


"Goddess-Universe," a Pythagorean and Stoic term for the "order" 
imposed on the elements in Primal Chaos, to bring about the creation 
of the world. Like the name of the abyssal Mother, Themis, Kosmos 
meant "correct order" and was used by Homer to mean an arrange- 
ment of woman's ornaments. 1 The philosophers' idea was that the 
Goddess created manifest forms for her own adornment, giving rise to 
all the material world, the beauty of which was her outer garment and 
jewels. Her true spirit moved within and behind these things, unseen. 
Through the life of the universe she constantly arranged and re- 
arranged the outward manifestations of her "order" to make infinite 
numbers of different living forms. At doomsday she destroyed them 
all, to begin over with the next creation. See Tohu Bohu. 

1. Lindsay, O.A., 75, 120. 


Literally, "World-Goddess." The ancients used to believe gem 
stones were solidified drops of the divine essence, embedded in rocks 
when the world was created. Diamonds were sacred to the Mother of 
the gods because they "ruled" all other stones by their superior 
hardness. In Tantric Tibet, the divine essence of the Earth-goddess 
Tara is still assumed to inhabit her human incarnation, the Diamond 
Sow, traditional consort or feminine counterpart of the Dalai Lama. 

Because diamonds were sacred to the supreme Goddess, they were 
taken over by the cult of the Virgin; and because of this association 
with virginity they came to be considered appropriate betrothal gifts. In 
the transition from Tarot cards to modern playing cards, diamonds 
replaced the ancient suit of pentacles, which were symbols of Mother 
Earth (Tara) and of the feminine earth element. 




"Queen of Heaven," Roman name for the Triple Goddess as (1) 
Lunar Virgin, (2) Mother of Creatures, and (3) the Huntress (Destroy- 
er). Her Greek name was Artemis. Her major pilgrimage centers 
were Ephesus and Nemi, the Sacred Grove. She was Dione, Diana 
Nemorensis, or Nemetona, Goddess of the Moon-grove. In her 
sanctuaries, sacred kings periodically engaged in combat, the loser dying 
as the god Hippolytus, the winner invested as the Goddess's new 
favorite, Virbius. See Hippolytus, Saint. 

As Diana Egeria, patroness of childbirth, nursing, and healing, the 
Goddess made Nemi's holy spring the Lourdes of pagan Rome. 1 The 
legendary King Numa was said to have derived all his wisdom from a 
sacred marriage with her. 

Diana's cult was so widespread in the pagan world that early 
Christians viewed her as their major rival, which is why she later 
became "Queen of Witches." The Gospels commanded total destruc- 
tion of all temples of Diana, the Great Goddess worshipped by "Asia 
and all the world" (Acts 19:27). 

Roman towns all over Europe habitually called the local mother 
goddess Diana, as later Christian towns were to call her Madonna. 
Fortunatus said Diana was the Goddess worshipped at Vernemeton, 
"which in the Gaulish language means the Great Shrine." In the 5th 
century a.d., the Gauls regarded her as their supreme deity. Christians 
spoke slightingly of their pagan custom of adoring the spirit of Diana 
in a cut branch or a log of wood. 2 Gozbert, a 7th-century Frankish 
chieftain, doubted the claims of a Christian missionary on the ground 
that the Christian God was "no better than our own Diana." 3 

At Ephesus, the Goddess was called Mother of Animals, Lady of 
Wild Creatures, and Many-Breasted Artemis, shown with her entire 
torso covered with breasts to nourish the world's creatures. 4 In the 4th 
century a.d., the church took over this shrine and re-dedicated it to 
the virgin Mary. 5 One of the earliest churches devoted to "Our Lady" 
existed at Ephesus in 43 1 ; but most of the people believed the Lady 
was Diana, not Mary. In 432 the Council of Ephesus tried to eliminate 
worship of the pagan Goddess, but the bishops were besieged by 
crowds demanding, "Give us our Diana of the Ephesians!" 6 

An excuse for converting Diana's temples into Mary's churches 
was provided by a made-to-order legend that Mary lived at Ephesus 
in her old age. Her tomb was located there, and some Christians even 
pointed out the house in which she had lived. 7 But sometimes she 
was identified with the sinister Widow of Ephesus, a Crone aspect of 
the Goddess showing some primitive features. 

Petronius's version of the myth said the Widow hung her hus- 
band's dead body on one of the three crosses in front of Diana's 
temple, replacing the body of a previously crucified thief. Then she lay 
with her new lover at the foot of the cross. 8 The parallel between this 
image and that of the triple Mary at the foot of Jesus's cross was too 


Venantius Honorius 
Fortunatus 6th- 
century poet, bishop of 
Poitiers, still venerated 
as a saint in France. 


Diana close for comfort, especially since Diana herself was assimilated to the 

Christian myth as Mary's mother, or elder self, the "Grandmother of 
^^^^^^^^^^^ God" under the name of either Anna (Hannah) or Di-anna 
(Dinah). 9 

Gnostic Christians called their Wisdom-goddess Sophia the same 
Grandmother of God, and frequently identified her with Diana of 
Ephesus. When Diana's temple was finally pulled down, as the Gospels 
ordered, its magnificent porphyry pillars were carried to Constantino- 
ple and built into the church of Holy Sophia. 10 

The magic of Ephesus was remembered through the Middle Ages. 
A writer said in 1725: "It is recorded in divers authors that in the 
image of Diana, which was worshipped at Ephesus, there were certain 
obscure words or sentences . . . written upon the feet, girdle and 
crown of the said Diana: the which, if a man did use, having written 
them out, and carrying them about him, he should have good luck in 
all his businesses." 11 

Some Christians even remembered that Diana was once the triple 
deity who ruled the world. A 14th-century poem attributed to the 
Bishop of Meaux said Diana was an old name for the Trinity. 12 

Officers of the Inquisition however regarded Diana as the "God- 
dess of the heathen" with whom witches made their aerial night 
journeys or thought they did. 13 The worship of Diana was denounced 
wherever it was found, even when the worshippers were members of 
the clergy. In the 14th century, a bishop found the monks of Frithel- 
stock Priory worshipping a statue of "the unchaste Diana" at an altar 
in the woods, and made them destroy it. 14 The notorious inquisitor 
Torquemada declared bluntly that Diana is the devil. 15 

Devil or not, Diana ruled the wild forests of Europe through the 
medieval period. As patron of the forest of Ardennes she was Dea 
Arduenna; as patron of the Black Forest she was Dea Abnoba. 16 
Serbians, Czechs, and Poles knew her as the woodland Moon- 
goddess Diiwica, Devana, or Dziewona. 17 She remained the Goddess 
of wild woodlands and hunting, all the way up to the 18th century in 

Dianic rites were celebrated even in church, despite objections 

from the clergy. A minister wrote against the traditional parade of a 

stag's head into St. Paul's Cathedral in London: "bringing in procession 

into the church the head of a deer, fixed on the top of a long spear or 

pole, with the whole company blowing Hunters Horns in a sort of 

hideous manner; and with this rude pomp they go up to the High 

Altar, and offer it there. You would think them all the mad Votaries of 

Diana." 18 

l.Frazer,G.B.,5,10. 2. Graves, W.G., 273-74. 3. Reinach, 153. 

4. Neumann, G.M., pi. 35. 5. Ashe, 185. 6. Legman, 661. 7. Ashe, 112, 185. 

8. Legman, 650. 9. Graves, W.G, 411. 10. J.H. Smith, C.G., 234. 

11. Hazlitt, 103. 12. Seznec, 92-93. 13. Kramer & Sprenger, 104. 

14.Lethbridge,71. 15. J.B. Russell, 235. 16. Spence, 76. 17. Larousse, 288. 

18. Hazlitt, 484. 


Dictynna Dictynna 

Title of Mother Rhea as the Lawgiving Goddess of Mount Dicte, on Diogenes 

Crete, where the tablets of her laws and "e-dicts" were given to Minoan ^^mbm^^hm^m 
kings. 1 "Dictate" is an English derivative of the goddess's directives 
from Dicte. 

1 . Larousse, 86. 


Priestess-queen and foundress of Carthage, identified with Cyprian 
Aphrodite and the Goddess Tanit. As Dido-Anna she was the consort 
of the Tyrian god Melek-Heracles, who died by fire as a sacrificial 
victim each year. According to Roman myth, Dido chose Aeneas as her 
sacred king and was going to sacrifice him, but he escaped and fled, 
leaving her to perish in his place. He survived to become the founder of 

Another of Dido's names was Elissa, "the Goddess." 

Dike var. Dice 

Alternative spelling of the Greek Fate-goddess Tyche, whom the 
Orphics called Eurydice, "Universal Dike." To her were dedicated the 
oracular knucklebones (dice) used to select sacrificial victims by the 
rite of lots, and to prophesy the future, like the Hebrews' sacred urim 
and thummim. See Orphism. 


Cynic philosopher who lived in an earthen pot at the door of the 
Great Mother's temple and constantly looked for one honest man. 1 
Cynics were "dogs" or "watchdogs" of the Goddess, as their name 
implies (kynikos, doglike ones). They sought an honest man because 
they believed they were living in the last age of the world, and the 
Goddess would destroy it when there was not one honest man still living 

Sin it. 
This matched the Oriental concept of the Kali Yuga, last age of 
I the world, when men become callous, violent, disorderly, and dishon- 
orable. 2 When these conditions were completely fulfilled, doomsday 
was imminent. 

The word "cynical" descended from the implication that, despite 
I Diogenes's lifelong search, he never found the one honest man 
whose existence still prevented the earth's destruction. See Dog. 

1. Campbell, Oc.M., 244. 2. Mahanirvanatantra, 52. 



Dionysius Dionysius the Areopagite 

One of the most influential Christian writers of the Middle Ages, 
^^^^^^^^ revered for his mystical insights, knowledge of heavenly matters, and 
holy life. His only fault was that he never existed. 

Dionysius's works were forged about the 6th century a.d. and 
palmed off as the work of one Dionysius the first bishop of Athens, 
supposedly converted to Christianity by St. Paul personally, during the 
latter's spirit-visit to Greece as a ghost, after having been "caught up 
to the third heaven." Paul told pseudo-Dionysius about heaven, and 
pseudo-Dionysius wrote it down and preached it from the Athenian 
Hill of Ares; hence his title, Areopagite. 

The medieval church based its organization of three sacraments, 
three holy orders, and three lower orders on the spurious revelations 
of Dionysius, in imitation of the heavenly hierarchy he described, 
consisting of (1) Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; (2) Dominions, 
Virtues, and Powers; (3) Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The 
spirits of heaven remained thus organized all the way up to the 18th 

Churchmen reluctantly abandoned their belief in the authenticity 
of Dionysius's writings when it was pointed out that, despite earlier 
scholars' unquestioning acceptance, they failed the simplest of chrono- 
logical tests, constantly referring to events and institutions of much 
later date than the time of the alleged Dionysius. 1 At first the pious tried 
to pretend these references were miraculous prophecies of the future, 
but this defense proved untenable. 

1. White 2, 315-16. 


Identified with many other savior-gods, Dionysus was also called 
Bacchus, Zagreus, Sabazius, Adonis, Antheus, Zalmoxis, Pentheus, 
Pan, Liber Pater, or "the Liberator." l His totem was a panther (Pan- 
thereos, the Beast of Pan). His emblem was the thyrsus, a phallic scepter 
tipped with a pine cone. His priestesses were the Maenads, or 
Bacchantes, who celebrated his orgies with drunkenness, nakedness, and 
sacramental feasting. 

Dionysus is often presented as a rustic wine-god, inventor of 
viniculture. He was more than that. He was a prototype of Christ, 
with a cult center at Jerusalem as well as nearly every other major city in 
the middle east. Plutarch said the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was 
celebrated in his honor: "I think that the festival of the Sabbath is not 
wholly without relation to the festival of Dionysus." 2 He added that 
the Jews abstain from pork because their god Dionysus-Adonis (Lord 
Dionysus) was slain by a boar. In the 1st century B.C. the Jews 
themselves claimed to worship Dionysus under his Phrygian name of 
Zeus Sabazius. 5 

Tacitus said Dionysus Liber was the god of Jerusalem in a former 


time, but a different god had replaced him, a god with less attractive Dionysus 

characteristics: "Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while 

the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean." 4 Dionysus and Jehovah 

were literally two sides of the same coin in the 5th century B.C., when ^'"'^^^^^^^^ 

coins found near Gaza showed Dionysus on one side, and on the 

other a bearded figure labeled JHWH Jehovah. 5 

In Lebanon, Dionysus was incarnated in Ampelus, a "beautiful 
youth" torn to pieces by a bull and reincarnated as a grapevine. In 
Chios, the blood of men murdered by Dionysus's Maenads was used to 
fertilize the vines. At Orchomenus, the Triple Goddess appeared in 
Dionysian rites as "three princesses" who tore apart a male child and ate 
him (the earth absorbing sacrificial blood). In Thebes, a king named 
Pentheus dared to oppose the Dionysian cult, perhaps because he didn't 
care to die like other Dionysian god-kings. But the women tore him 
to pieces anyway, led by the king's own mother (or mother-goddess), 
who wrenched his head off. 6 Later Theban rites of Dionysus cen- 
tered on killing and eating a fawn named Pentheus, and the Maenads 
wore fawn skins. The god's Lydian totem was a fox, Bassareus, 
forerunner of the medieval Reynard. There the Maenads called them- 
selves Bassarids, and wore fox skins. 7 

These darker legends show Dionysus's typical "savior" pattern: 
first and most primitive, a king killed and cannibalized to provide both 
the earth and women's wombs with fructifying blood; then a surrogate 
for the king, a condemned criminal or a young man chosen by lot; 
then an animal substitute for the man; and finally, "flesh" and "blood" 
devoured in the form of bread and wine, the classical Dionysian 
sacrament at Eleusis. 

In Palestine, Dionysus was identified with Noah, the first biblical 
patriarch to get drunk (Genesis 9:21). His Greek title was Deucalion, 
"New-wine sailor," the flood hero in pre-Hellenic myths. 8 Dionysus 
was also a form of Adam, offspring of Father Heaven and Mother 
Earth (Zeus and Demeter), torn to pieces to make a sin offering of the 
"wine" of his blood. 9 His later hero-incarnation Orpheus, star of the 
popular Orphic Mysteries, was the same sacrificial god, torn to pieces by 
the Maenads. Proclus said, "Orpheus, because he was the principal in 
the Dionysian rites, is said to have suffered the same fate as the god." 10 

Orpheus was a third-generation savior, identified with his divine 
[father Dionysus as Dionysus was identified with his divine father 
Zeus. Seated on the Heavenly Father's throne, brandishing his light- 
ning-scepter, Dionysus was hailed as King of Kings and God of 
Gods. 11 He was also the god-begotten, virgin-born Anointed One 
UChristos) whose mother seems to have been all three forms of the 
Triple Goddess: the earth mother, Persephone the underworld queen, 
Semele the moon-maiden. Hints of a hanging or crucifixion ceremo- 
ny appeared in his sacrificial title Dendrites, "Young Man of the 
[Tree." 12 He was also a Horned God, with such forms as bull, goat, 
and stag. 

According to the classic story of his dismemberment, the god took 



Pausanias Greek 
traveler and 
geographer of the 2nd 
century a.d. Living in 
a time of declining 
culture, he was 
inspired by a desire to 
describe the ancient 
sacred sites for 

such animal forms in rapid succession to avoid the onslaught of the 
Titans (pre-Hellenic earth-deities), who eventually caught him, tore 
him to pieces, and devoured him. They trapped his soul in a mirror 
while he was admiring his reflection, which equates Dionysus with the 
spring-flower god Narcissus, another of his many disguises. Accord- 
ing to Pausanias, it was Onomakritos who made the Titans into 
"authors of Dionysus's sufferings," but the orgia had not included 
this detail of old. Probably one of the god's oldest forms was Dionysus 
Melanaigis, "Dionysus of the Black Goatskin," a scapegoat-satyr like 
Marsyas. 13 His traditional costume contributed much to the medieval 
Christian notion of the devil's habit of appearing in the form of a 
black goat. 

At Eleusis, the place of his "Advent," Dionysus appeared as a 
newborn Holy Child laid in a winnowing-basket, liknon, from which 
he was called Dionysus Liknites. This sacred object, his cradle, was 
carried in his processions by a special functionary called a likno- 
phoros, cradle-bearer. 14 The liknon was the original form of the 
"manger" in which the infant Jesus was laid. All grain-gods, whose 
flesh was eaten in the form of bread, appeared as newborn babes in a 
vessel intended for seed corn. 

A long-remembered incarnation of the god was King Dionysus of 

Syracuse, who altered the custom of king-sacrifice in the 4th century 

B.C. When the time of his immolation approached, King Dionysus 

substituted for himself a courtier who was called Damocles, meaning 

either "Conquering Glory" or "Glory of Blood." Damocles was said to 

have volunteered to take the king's place because he envied the 

privileges of kingship. He enjoyed these privileges for a short while, but 

soon discovered a sword suspended above his head by a single hair: 

symbol of the fate of kings, in a time when they and the gods they 

embodied were periodically fated to die. 15 See Kingship. 

1. James, 198. 2. Knight, S.L., 1 56. 3. Graves, W.G., 366-68. 4. Tacitus, 660. 
5. Graves, W.G, 368. 6. Graves, GM. 1, 105. 7. Larousse, 160. 
8. Graves, GM. 2, 388. 9. Knight, S.L., 156. 10. Graves, GM. 1, 114. 
ll.Frazer,GB.,451. 12. Graves, GM. 1, 107. 13. Guthrie, 169, 320. 
14. Guthrie, 161. 15. Encyc. Brit, "Damocles." 


Greek version of the Heavenly Twins, gods of the morning and 
evening star, born together out of the World Egg of Leda. Each wore 
his half of the egg shell as a cap or crown. The twins were named 
Castor and Polydeuces, the latter meaning "abundant wine," perhaps a 
reference to the flowing blood of the solar Savior whom the twins 
ushered in and out of the underworld in rites linked with fertility. 1 The 
name of Castor has been associated with the rite of castrating the god, 
in classical paganism defined as "the act of offering the phallus to the 
Love Goddess." 2 


The Love Goddess was called Venus in Rome, and her planet is Diotima 

the same one that appears as both morning and evening "star." Djsj r 

Perhaps this was why Christians associated Pollux, the Roman form of 

Polydeuces, with "pollution." Like Shaher and Shalem in the land of 
Canaan, the Heavenly Twins announced the daily birth of the sun with 
the words "He is risen," and sent him into the underworld at his daily 
death with the word "Peace" (Shalom, or Salaam). See Lucifer. 

To Mithraic sun-worshippers the Dioscuri were symbolized by 
two golden stars, which still appear in the heavens as the Alpha and 
Beta stars of the constellation Gemini (the Twins). When the Dioscuri 
were shown in anthropomorphic form in Mithraic shrines, they held 
spears or torches, one upward, the other downward, signifying the rising 
and setting directions of the sun. Their pose was standard: one twin 
had the right leg crossed over the left, the other had the left leg crossed 
over the right. 3 The same "magic 4" leg position is seen on the 
Emperor card of the Tarot trumps. The Dioscuri were revered in 
Sparta as horsemen, warriors, and war dancers. 

1. Graves, CM. 1, 249; 2, 406. 2. Jobes, 179. 3. Cumont, MM., 128. 


Priestess of Mantinea, famous Pythagorean philosopher, teacher of 
Socrates: another once-renowned alma mater later forgotten by patriar- 
chal historians. 1 


Di Parentes 

"Parental deities," Roman title of the Manes or children of Mother 
Mana, the Moon-goddess; ancestral spirits generally. 1 At the founding 
of every Roman town a hole had to be dug, and covered with the 
lapis manalis, as a gate to allow the Di Parentes to pass in and out of the 
underworld so they would accept the town's location as their home. 
They were honored each year at the festival of Parentalia. 

1. Larousse, 213. 


Norse word for the Primal Matriarchs, or Divine Grandmothers, who 
ruled the clans before the coming of patriarchal gods. The Goddess 
Freya was the Vanadis, leader of the disir. 1 The matriarchs had the 
true magic, which the gods had to learn from them. 

l.Turville-Petre, 176. 


Dis Pater Dis Pater 

^* "Father Dis," a Roman name of the Lord of Death inherited from 

^^^^^^^^^^i Etruscan times. On occasion he wore the wolf head of the Etruscan god 
of the dead. Like underground Pluto he was called "the rich one," 
because he knew everything about mines, deposits of gem stones, and 
buried treasure. 1 Gallic Celts worshipped Dis above every other male 
deity, claiming he was the "father" of their race in the old way of the 
dying god who became "father" by shedding his blood (see King- 
ship). In Britain, Dis was regarded as a universal deity very like Jehovah, 
whose later adherents, however, transformed Dis into an alternative 
name for the devil. 2 

1 . Umusse, 211. 2. Graves, W.G., 45. 


Arabic "spirits," or ancestral souls. Djinni was a genie, cognate of the 
Roman genius, paternal ghost or begetter. Mohammedans viewed the 
djinn as pagan semi-demons because they were connected with the 
Old Religion. See Genius. 


No one knows when man first domesticated the dog. Evidence 
suggests that "man" didn't do it at all; woman did it. In myth, dogs 
accompanied only the Goddess, guarding the gates of her after-world, 
helping her to receive the dead. 

Like other carrion eaters e.g., vultures dogs, wolves, and jack- 
als were associated with funerary customs. Dogs carried the dead to 
their Mother. In Iran, even after it became usual to bury the dead, it was 
thought necessary to let dogs tear the corpse before burial, a survival 
of the older practice. 1 The Vendidad said the soul enroute to heaven 
would meet the Goddess with her dogs: "Then comes the beautiful, 
well-shapen, strong and graceful maid, with the dogs at her sides, one 
who can discern, who has many children, happy and of high 
understanding. She makes the soul of the righteous go up above." 2 

Semitic tradition transformed the Goddess into the Angel of 
Death, whose approach can be seen only by dogs which is why 
dogs howl at the moon to announce a death. 3 Devonshire folklore still 
says there is a dog in the moon who acts as a messenger of death. 4 
The Irish say two dogs guard the gate of death, which used to lead to 
Emania, the Moon-land; mourners were enjoined not to wail too 
loudly, lest they disturb the dogs and cause them to attack the soul at the 
gate. This and many other similar images can be traced to the ancient 
Vedic concept of the moon as death's gate, ruled by the Goddess and 
guarded by her two dogs. 5 



This Oriental symbol is still seen in an almost pure form on Tarot 
trump #18, the card of the Moon. The conventional picture is of two 
dogs howling at the full moon in front of a gate, or two pylons, with a 
road leading between them to a distant horizon. The scene was 
usually interpreted as having to do with death. 6 Sometimes the card was 
called Hecate, after the classic death-goddess whose totemic compan- 
ions were dogs. 7 Her gates were guarded by the three-headed hound 
Cerberus, "Spirit of the Pit." 8 In Celtic myth the gatekeeper was a 
dog named Dormarth, "Death's Door." 9 The same dog might be seen 
on the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, guarding the yonic gate 
through which heroes pass on their way to death and transfiguration. 10 

According to the Vedic tradition, the Bitch-goddess Sarama was 
the mistress of the death dogs, and a divine huntress like Artemis, 
Diana, Anath, and other western versions of the lunar maiden. 11 
Ancient Babylon knew her as Gula, the Fate-goddess, whose symbol 
was a dog. 12 She was assimilated to Ishtar, whose sacred king Tammuz 
was torn to pieces by "dogs." B Under his Greek names of Adonis or 
Actaeon, he was torn to pieces by the Dogs of Artemis. As the savior 
Orpheus, he was incarnated in Neanthus of Lesbos and torn to pieces 
in the Orphic temple by "dogs. " H When Athene assumed the guise of 
the death-goddess, her priestesses filled her temple with canine 
"howlings" (houloi), like wolves or dogs singing to the moon. 15 Some- 
times a whole pack of dogs or priestesses? hunted souls in the 
realm of death, like the Celtic Hounds of Annwn, which Christians 
soon converted into the Hounds of Hell. 16 

Originally this meant the hounds of the Goddess Hel, ruler of the 
land of death. Norse myth said she gave birth to lunar wolf-dogs who 
ate the flesh of the dead and carried souls to paradise. Their leader was 
Managarm, "Moon-Dog." The Prose Edda says Managarm was 
"gorged with the flesh of the death-doomed; and with red blood he 
reddens the dwelling of the gods." 17 In other words, he carried the 
dead away in primitive, carrion-eating canine fashion. 

An alternative name for the Norse moon-dogs' mother was Angur- 
boda, the Hag of the Iron Wood: an older version of Hel, sometimes 
called Hel's mother. 18 Two of Angurboda's canine children, Geri and 
Freki, lived in Valhalla and ate the food offered on "Odin's table," 
meaning the altar. 19 This suggests that the Vedic image of the two death 
dogs passed into Norse mythology as a pair of canine gods, like the 
many holy dogs, wolves, or jackals of the ancient world in general. 

One of the oldest of these gods was Egyptian Anubis, brought 
from central Asia at a very early date under the name of Up-Uat, 
"Opener of the Way." He was also known as Mates, "He of the 
Mother," similar to the archaic Irish word for a dog, madra. 20 This 
old Asian god was said to be a wolf, but he soon merged with the jackal 
Anubis, who was called his twin. The composite was a deity "whose 
face is like unto that of a greyhound . . . who feedeth on the dead . . . 
who devoureth the bodies of the dead, and swalloweth hearts." In the 


Prose Edda 

Icelandic saga, a 
collection of traditional 
stories compiled by 
Snorri Sturluson in the 
13 th century a.d. 


D8 predynastic period he governed sacrificial priests, "jackal-headed men 

with slaughtering-knives," in an old section of the underworld. 21 
mhmm^^^^^m Coptic Christians later identified Anubis with Cabriel, who was called a 
judge of the dead. 22 

As a lord of the land of death, Anubis became the god of 
mummification. He was often shown bending solicitously over the 
mummy of Osiris, applying the preservative mumiya from which the 
word "mummy" descended. When the Osiris cult became astrologi- 
cal, much of its imagery was transposed from the underworld to the 
heavens, including the image of Anubis. 

The star of Anubis was Sothis (Sirius), the Eye of the Dog, in 
Greek, Canopis. Sirius is the star forming the "eye" of Canis Major, the 
Great Dog. It is the brightest star in the sky. Egyptians believed it 
held the soul of Osiris, whose rebirth coincided with the rising of the 
Nile flood, when his star rose in the east. "Three wise men" pointed 
the way to the newborn Savior: the three stars in Orion's belt, which 
form a line pointing to Sirius. The holy city of Anubis on earth was 
also Canopis, the Eye of the Dog, origin of the canopic mummy-jar. 

Anubis came to Rome as a leading character in the Osirian 
Mysteries. He was seen in processions "condescending to walk on 
human feet . . . rearing terrifically high his dog's head and neck that 
messenger between heaven and hell displaying alternately a face 
black as night, and golden as the day; in his left the caduceus, in his right 
waving aloft the green palm branch. His steps were closely followed 
by a cow, raised into an upright posture the cow being the fruitful 
emblem of the Universal Parent, the goddess herself, which one of 
the happy train carried with majestic steps, supported on his shoulders. 
By another was borne the coffin containing the sacred things, and 
closely concealing the deep secrets of the holy religion." 23 

Not only Anubis, but many other dog-deities were worshipped 
throughout the Roman empire. An early Roman cista from Pales- 
trina-Praeneste showed the Moon-virgin Minerva sacrificing a naked 
Mars over a cauldron, attended by her three-headed death dog, 
clearly the same as Persephone's or Hecate's Cerberus. 24 The dog as 
the keeper of Mother's gate was known everywhere in antiquity, 
probably because wild dogs were first domesticated as guardians of the 
home threshold, doorways being generally sacred to women who 
owned the houses. In Assyria, images of dogs were buried under 
thresholds of houses, suggesting similar burials of deceased watchdogs 
in former times. 25 The dogs' spirits continued to halt intruders, which 
may account for the ancient custom of lifting a new bride over a 
threshold, so the guardian spirits beneath would not think her an 
intruder but would accept her as a resident. 

The Cynic sage Diogenes made himself a watchdog at the gate of 
the Great Mother's temple, where he lived in "a large earthen pot," 
representing the terrestrial womb. 26 Cynics were the Goddess's "doglike 
ones" (kynikos). Their sect, founded in the 4th century B.C., professed 


to foretell the end of the world from the circumpolar constellation Ursa Dog 

Minor, which they called the Dog. The north pole star was the Dog's 

Tail, kunos oura, the Cynosure. 27 When it moved from its place at the 

still point of the turning world, according to the Cynics, the end of 
the present universe was at hand. 

The Cynic idea of the dog affixed to the north pole is still found in 
European folklore. Slavs spoke of the three Zorya (triple Fate- 
goddess), keeping "a dog which is tied by an iron chain to the 
constellation of the Little Bear. When the chain breaks it will be the 
end of the world." 28 Egyptians similarly believed the Goddess kept 
"powers of darkness" fettered by a heavenly chain until the last days 
of the world. 29 Northern peoples said the chain held the cosmic 
doomsday-wolf Fenrir, who would be released by the Norns (triple 
Fate-goddess) to devour the heavenly father at the end of the world; this 
would signal the destruction of all the gods. 30 Norsemen therefore 
called doomsday the Day of the Wolf. 31 

The Great Goddess was herself a wolf, in the very old Roman cult 
of the She- Wolf Lupa, whose original consort was Lupus, the Wolf. 
He was also Feronius, or Dis Pater, a subterranean wolf god inherited 
from the Etruscans, as was the She- Wolf who suckled Rome's 
founders, Romulus and Remus. The famous Lupercalian statue of the 
She- Wolf was cast in bronze during the 5th century B.C. The two 
babies under her belly were not part of the original work but were added 
centuries later, to suit the Roman version of the legend. 32 

The Lupercalia may have been a corruption of Lupa-Kali; the 
Oriental Great Goddess was also a she-wolf. Under her yoni-name of 
Cunti she gave birth to a divine son "in the cave of the wolf," like the 
Lupercal grotto. Her child was placed in a basket of rushes and set 
afloat on the Ganges, as Romulus and Remus were set afloat on the 
Tiber, Moses was set afloat on the Nile, and Sargon was set afloat on 
the Euphrates. The wolf bitch Lupa was identified with the midwife- 
goddess Acca Larentia who took Romulus and Remus from their 
basket, just as Akka took Sargon, and "pharaoh's daughter" (another 
version of Akka) took Moses. Akka, Acca, or Acco was the same as 
Hecate, who turned into a wolf bitch in Homeric legend. 33 Lupa (or 
Acca) disappeared into the sacred spring of the Lupercal grotto, 
where her spirit was worshipped every year at the Lupercalian festival. 

There were many lupine foster-mothers in Middle-Eastern myths. 
Tu Kueh, legendary founder of the Turkish nation, was preserved in 
infancy by a holy she-wolf whom he subsequently married: that is, she 
was the Goddess of the land in totemic form. 34 A famous Turkish 
leader was Ataturk, "the Gray Wolf." 35 Zoroaster was raised by a she- 
wolf. Cyrus the Great, born of Mandane (Moon-mother), was 
nursed by a woman whose Greek name was Cyno, her Median name 
Spako, meaning "Bitch." Siegfried too was a wolf's foster child; his 
oldest name was Wolfdietrich. 36 

The oldest religion of the Canary Islands was a dog- or wolf-cult, 


Dog traces of which are still seen in many ancient canine statues. Canary 

birds and canary wine took their name from the islands, which were 

^^ mmmmmm ^^^^ am really named for Canis, the dog. 37 

The same name once applied to the hereditary caste of Jewish 
priests, Kohen or Cohen, from Greek kuon, "dog." 58 Because dogs 
were associated with the old matriarchy, the epithet "dog" became an 
insult to Semitic patriarchs; Islam forbids both women and dogs to 
approach a shrine. 59 Yet Moslems still incongruously believe the gall of 
a black dog can serve as a holy amulet to purge an entire household 
of evil influences. 40 

Early Christians made an effort to assimilate the Gallo-Roman 
wolf god under the name of St. Lupus or St. Loup, "Holy Wolf." 41 
He was made a legendary bishop of Troyes, credited with miraculously 
turning back the invading Huns from his province; but this story was 
fiction masquerading as history. 42 The church was not wholly comfort- 
able with any of the manifestations of Lupus, who was really a 
prototype of the werewolf. Saxons used to worship him in the first 
month of the sacred year, called Wolf-monath (Wolf Month); but 
Christian authorities changed the name of this month to After- Yule, or 
Jesu-monath. Its runic sign was a dot in a circle, the same as the 
Festival of the Circumcision of Christ (New Year's Day). 43 

Diana the Huntress and her "dogs" had an extensive cult in 
England. Some of her legends merged with those of Arthur, Lance- 
lot, and other British heroes. One of the tales told how Lancelot, like 
Actaeon, trespassed in the Goddess's greenwood and fell asleep at her 
secret spring: 

There was a Lady dwelt in that forest, and she was a great huntress, and 
daily she used to hunt, and ever she bare her bow with her; and no man 
went never with her, but always women, and they were shooters, and 
could well kill a deer, both at the stalk and at the trest; and they daily 
bare bows and arrows, horns and wood knives, and many good dogs they 
had. 44 

When the "Lady" caught Lancelot in the forbidden place, she 
didn't set her dogs on him as her forerunners had done. She only shot 
him in the buttock, "that he might not sit on no saddle." 45 Thus he 
was disgraced, since a warrior was supposed to show wounds only in 

Because dogs were natural companions of the housewife as well as 
the huntress, they were often cited as witches' familiars. A black dog 
seemed even more suspect than a black cat. The dog was frequently 
believed to be the animal form of a demon lover, probably because 
women were inclined to fondle their dogs; many women were hanged 
in England on that count alone. One witch was officially condemned 
for having "carnal copulation with the devil in the likeness of a man, but 
he removed from her in the likeness of a black dog." 46 

Gypsies told a story based on such witch trials: there was a 
beautiful maiden whose lover was her dog. Once each year he 


transformed himself into a man and lay with her. In due time, she gave Dog 

birth to a "little white puppy," then she jumped into the river and 

drowned (a popular method of disposing of witches was to drown them ^^^^_^^^__ 

in the so-called swimming ordeal). The demon lover assumed his 

human shape, retrieved the maiden's corpse, and brought her back to 

life by placing the puppy-child at her breast to suck. Afterward, as in 

all fairy tales, they married and lived happily ever after. 47 

The black dog was the witch's helper in gathering materials for 
charms. According to an exceptionally durable superstition, the 
miraculous mandrake root could not be pulled out of the ground except 
by a black dog. This curiously formed root, called "the phallus of the 
field," or "the devil's genitals," was supposed to emit a scream if 
uprooted by the unwary; and all who heard the sound would go 
insane, or die. 48 

The Irish remembered the dog's connection with death and 
maintained that true curses could be cast with a dog's help. Among 
the Celts, cainte, "dog," denoted a satiric bard with magic power to 
speak curses that would come true. 49 

Dogs or wolves played their ancient role of psychopomps in a 
number of strange stories about cathedral-building, which might be 
traced all the way back to the Etruscan Lupus or Dis Pater, the wolf- 
headed Lord of Death who carried sacrificial victims away. In the very 
old rite of the mundus, trenches dug for temple foundations were 
filled with sacrificial blood. It was believed the building would be 
unstable if this blood-magic were omitted; so it was done, from Hindu 
India to Latium and Britain. Lupus appeared in sacred art as a wolf- 
angel carrying the victim to a blessed after-life. On an Etruscan vase, 
the death-god Charon is assimilated to Lupus and wears a wolfskin. 50 

This notion that sacred buildings needed to be founded in blood 
has been evident in every tradition including the Judeo-Christian 
one. The Bible says when Hiel founded the city of Jericho, "he laid the 
foundation thereof in (the blood of) Abiram his firstborn and set up 
the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of 
the Lord" (1 Kings 16:34). British legend said Vortigern's temple 
walls kept falling down because the blood sacrifice for their foundation 
had been forgotten. 51 Such pagan customs continued in the Middle 
Ages. Many skeletons have been found buried in walls, pillars, and 
cornerstones of churches and abbeys, placed there as supportive 
sacrifices. 52 A deaf-mute was buried under the cornerstone of a monas- 
tery near Gottingen. 53 A parish church at Holsworthy, North Devon, 
was found in 1845 to have a skeleton in its southwest wall. 54 Illegitimate 
children were frequently buried in building foundations. One St. 
Benezet, or Little Bennet, was walled up in the foundation of a bridge 
at Avignon in 1 184. Five centuries later his crypt was opened, and 
St. Benezet proved his saintly status by remaining fresh and unde- 
cayed. 55 So his ecclesiastical press agents claimed, at any rate. "It was 
really a common thing among Christians to sacrifice children, maids, or 



Chansons de gestes 

Old French epic 
poetry of the 11th to 
1 3th centuries. 

grown-up people by burying them alive under the foundations of 
castles, etc., to insure their stability." 56 

When St. Columba founded a monastery on the island of Iona, he 
called for a volunteer to be buried alive in its foundation. A monk 
named Oran, or Odran, earned a later canonization by offering 
himself. 57 For some reason perhaps a promise of Christ-like resurrec- 
tion he was dug up again after three days. Still alive, he began to 
preach blasphemous doctrines: there was no God, no devil, no heaven 
or hell. St. Columba therefore had him killed and re-buried. 58 It was 
not uncommon for monks infected with Gnostic, agnostic, or atheistic 
beliefs to meet with such a fate. 

Europe's totemic dog or wolf clans seem to have become involved 
in these sacrificial customs, just as they were involved in the ancient 
cult of the mundus. For instance, Cologne Cathedral was said to have 
been designed by the devil, and its bells were cast under the devil's 
direction at the foundry of a mysterious smith named Wolf. After 
casting a certain discordant bell, supposed to be rung only in time of 
disaster, Wolf was killed by a fall from the bell tower. The architect who 
collaborated with the devil was also killed, crushed by a great stone 
that already had his name engraved on it. 59 

Chansons de gestes told a somewhat different version. The build- 
ers of Cologne Cathedral killed a hero named Renaud (Fox) and 
buried him in the foundation. A church was erected to Renaud's 
memory in 81 1 a.d.; a chapel stood on the spot in Cologne where he 
was slain. 60 Some said Renaud was the same as the trickster-hero- 
demigod Reynard the Fox; others said he was a great warrior, one of 
Charlemagne's paladins. 

The devil and the wolf were also linked with Charlemagne's tomb 
at Aix-la-Chapelle. The devil contributed money to build the cathe- 
dral. In return, he demanded the life of the first creature to enter its 
doors. At the dedication ceremony, people thrust a wolf into the 
door. The devil took the wolfs life. Then it was safe for people to enter. 
Like Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle had a discordant bell for emergencies. 
The founder of this bell was crushed to death by the clapper, so the bell 
was baptized with his blood. 

Similar stories were told of Strasbourg Cathedral, supposedly 
designed by a wise witch named Sabine, once a title of Lupa, the 
Sabine She- Wolf. The dedication of the cathedral was marked by the 
sacrifice of twin brothers, like Romulus and Remus, one of whom 
killed the other by pushing him under a cornerstone as it was dropped 
into place. (Of the twins nursed by the Sabine She- Wolf, Romulus 
killed Remus while digging a furrow for the foundation of Rome's 
walls.) The bishop of Strasbourg ordered the cornerstone raised 
again, and the second brother was crushed under it also, by his wish. He 
explained, "My body will serve as a protection to the cathedral." 61 

Remnants of these curious beliefs and customs survived to the 
present time. In World War II, the Nazi SS caused human bodies to 


be "encased in the concrete fortifications and bunkers, as though such Dolcinists 

bodies could give strength to inanimate matter." 62 To this day, Greek 

peasants insist on a blood sacrifice at the building of any bridge, to bathe ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

the foundation in the lifeblood of a bird or animal to "strengthen" 


The notion that a dog's blood is equivalent to the blood of a 
human being is still found among the Berbers, who believe that a 
murderer is magically tainted by the blood of his victim for the rest of his 
life. The killer of a dog is similarly tainted. 64 Nearly everywhere one 
can still find the belief that dogs can see ghosts and other spirits, left over 
from the formerly universal association of canines with the world of 
death and the special preserve of the underground Goddess. 65 

1. Herodotus, 56. 2. Robertson, 115. 3. Budge, G.E. 1, 19. 

4. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 197. 5. Lethaby, 193. 6. Cavendish, T, 128. 

7. A. Douglas, 106. 8. Graves, G.M. 2, 385. 9. Squire, 257. 

10. Cavendish, V.H.H. 49. 1 1 . 0'Flaherty, 352. 12. Lamusse, 63. 

13. Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 338. 14. Lamusse, 198. 15. Herodotus, 270. 

16. Graves, W.G., 36. 1 7. Sturluson, 39. 18. Graves, W.G., 409. 

19. Sturluson, 63. 20. Joyce 2, 453. 21. Book of the Dead, 182, 394, 140. 

22. Graves, W.G., 153. 23. Budge, G.E. 2, 266. 24. Dumezil, 243. 

25. Budge, A.T., 99. 26. Campbell, Oc.M., 244. 27. Potter & Sargent, 174. 

28. Lamusse, 285. 29. Budge, G.E. 2, 249. 30. Sturluson, 88. 

31. Campbell, M.I., 72. 32. Lamusse, 220. 33. Rank, 18, 45; Graves, G.M. 2, 342. 

34. Gaster, 228. 35. Wedeck, 173. 36. Rank, 29, 56-58. 37. Potter & Sargent, 173. 

38. Knight, S.L., 114. 39. Farb, W.P., 144. 40. Budge, A.T., 12. 

41. Knight, D.VV.R, 191. 42. Attwater, 223. 43. Brewster, 50. 44. Malory 2, 307. 

45. Malory 2, 308. 46. Robbins, 193, 463. 47. Groome, 139. 48. Simons, 67. 

49. Joyce 1, 455. 50. Castiglioni, 201; Summers, W, 69. 51. Guerber, L.M.A., 205. 

52. deLys, 380-81. 53. Groome, 13. 54. Elworthy, 80. 55. Brewster, 194. 

56.Leland,241. 57. Joyce 1,285. 58. Holmes, 207. 59. Guerber, L.R., 47-56. 

60. Guerber, L.M.A., 162. 61. Guerber, L.R., 85-88, 297-300. 62. Becker, E.E., 104. 

63. Lawson, 264. 64. Frazer, F.O.T., 35. 65. Halliday, 59. 


Medieval heretics formerly called the Apostolic Congregation, 
founded by a peasant named Segarelli, who tried to join the Franciscan 
order and was rejected. Believing himself nevertheless a true spiritual 
son of St. Francis, he gathered disciples and preached against the 
worldly wealth of the church. He was caught and burned, but the 
Congregation continued under Fra Dolcino, who preached the oncom- 
ing doomsday, the fall of the sinful church, and the triumph of the 
poor and simple over the theocracy. 

Dolcinists admitted women to their ranks, and granted their 
"sisters in Christ" the same right to preach and lead prayers as the 
men, one of the worst manifestations of their heresy. Dolcinists claimed 
to renounce sexual relations; so when Dolcino's particular "dearly 
beloved sister in Christ" Margherita di Trank bore him a child, it was 
brought about through the miraculous agency of the Holy Ghost, 
they said. 

The Inquisition harassed the Dolcinists until they took refuge in 
the high mountains. Three crusades were preached against them. In 
the winter of 1 307 they were finally reduced to starvation, trapped, and 



slaughtered. Dolcino was captured alive, unfortunately for him. After 
watching his Margherita burn, he was torn to pieces by red-hot pincers 
on a cart rolling slowly along the roads for all to watch. 

Despite this edifying example, Dolcinism persisted for another 
century. Two Dolcinist Apostles were captured and burned in 
Germany in 1404. 1 

1. Lea unabridged, 614-23. 

Puranas are ancient 
Sanskrit scriptures in 
verse, treating of cos- 
mologies, sacred 
histories, and the nature 
of the divine. 


The universal idea of the world's end was rooted in ancient Hindu 
belief in the cyclic alternation of universes, brought about by Kali. 

Each successive creation was divided into four yugas or ages: 
Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali, the fourth and last marking the age 
when Mother turns Destroyer because the race of men become violent 
and sinful, failing to perceive deity in the feminine principle. "Due to 
the limited intelligence and lust of men in the Kali Yuga, they will be 
unable to recognize women as manifestations of the Shakti." Only a 
few may escape spiritual degeneration: those who are devoted "to the 
lotus of their mothers' feet and to their own wives." l 

When Kali's doomsday arrived, the gods would slay each other. 
Earth would be overwhelmed by fire and flood. The Goddess would 
swallow up everything and un-make it, returning to her primordial state 
of formless Chaos, as she was before creation. All beings would enter 
her, because "She devours all existence." 2 After a time that could not 
be counted because even Time was destroyed, Kali would give birth 
to a new universe. 

The Matsya Purana said signs of approaching doomsday were to 
be found in the breakdown of social structures, the increase in 
violence and crime, and the decline of human intelligence: 

There is no one, any more, in whom enlightening goodness (sattva) 
prevails; no real wise man, no saint, no one uttering truth and standing 
by his sacred word. The seemingly holy Brahmin is no better than a fool. 
Old people, destitute of the true wisdom of old age, try to behave like 
the young, and the young lack the candor of youth. The social classes 
have lost their distinguishing, dignifying virtues. . . . The will to rise to 
supreme heights has failed; the bonds of sympathy and love have dis- 
solved; narrow egotism rules. . . . When this calamity has befallen the 
once harmoniously ordered City of Man, the substance of the world- 
organism had deteriorated beyond salvage, and the universe is ripe for 
dissolution. } 

The Vishnu Purana said the world in its last days reaches a stage 
where "property confers rank, wealth becomes the only source of virtue, 
passion the sole bond of union between husband and wife, falsehood 


the source of success in life, sex the only means of enjoyment, and Doomsday 

when outer trappings are confused with inner religion." 4 

Asiatic arts of astronomic observation and calculation of calendars ^^- B ^^^ 
were motivated by an earnest desire to know the exact length of each 
yuga, to foresee the end. An age was supposed to begin when sun, 
moon, and planets stood in conjunction at the initial point of the 
ecliptic and to end when they returned to the same point. By Hindu 
reckoning, the present yuga began in 3 1 02 B.C. The chronology of 
'the Central American Maya began in 3 1 1 3 B.C., only 1 1 years later, "a 
discrepancy probably due to some minor miscalculation in reckoning 
backward from the observed movements of the heavenly bodies." 5 

Ancient Mesopotamia set the same dates as India and Mexico 
between 3113 and 3 1 02 b.c. for the beginning of civilized arts, 
especially astronomical calculation. The Babylonian sage Berossus said 
"the world will burn when all the planets that now move in different 
courses come together in the Crab, so that they all stand in a straight 
ine in the same sign, and . . . the future flood will take place when 
the same conjunction occurs in Capricorn. For the former is the 
constellation of the summer solstice, the latter of the winter solstice; 
they are the decisive signs of the zodiac, because the turning points of 
the year lie in them." Jeremias commented: 

This Babylonian doctrine has spread over the whole world. We find it 
again in Egypt, in the religion of the Avesta, and in India; traces of it 
are discovered in China, as well as in Mexico and among the savage 
nations of South America. To refer these phenomena back to "elemen- 
tary ideas" such as may arise independently among different peoples, will 
not hold good in view of the circumstance that we have to do with ideas 
connected with definite facts which rest upon continued astronomical 
observations. 6 

These remarks shed light on the great Neolithic monuments 
piown to be astronomical calculators, suggesting a good reason why 
hey were built with so much care and effort. The Stoic philosophers 
)f doomsday drew upon a very ancient tradition in predicting the 
vorld's end in terms almost identical with those of Oriental sages: "A 
lew sea will overrun everything, and the Ocean, today the boundary 
.nd girdle of the world, will occupy its centre. . . . What nature has 
nade into separate parts will be confounded into a single mass." This 
reed of dissolution into Chaos became "an important part of 
itoicism." 7 

Northern Europeans drew their myths of doomsday or Ragnarok 
rom the same ancient tradition. They said the world's end would be 
rought about by the Mutspell (Mother's Curse) when violent gods 
eglected the old laws of peace and blood kinship. The angry 
Joddess would become Skadi the Destroyer, a great shadow devouring 
le world, like her Oriental counterpart Kali. The gods would enter 


Doomsday that shadow of Gotterdammerung, literally the Going-Into-the-Shadow- 

of-the-Gods. They would be consumed, and the heavens and earth 
^^^^^aa^ with them. The world would sink back into the womb of primal chaos 
which gave it birth in the beginning. 8 

This was the prophecy of the sybilline priestess who wrote the 
Voluspa. It was echoed by the Irish sybil Babd, one of the three Fate- 
goddesses. She foretold the coming of the Waste Land, "trees without 
fruit and seas without fish; old men would give false judgments and 
legislators make unjust laws; warriors would betray one another, and 
men would be thieves, and there would be no more virtue left in the 
world." 9 

After destruction of this nonvirtuous world and its cruel gods, there 
would be a period of dark nonexistence. Then the Goddess's womb 
would bring forth a new universe. A new human race would arise from 
a primal couple, a woman named Life one of the Semitic names of 
Eve and a man named Desirer-of-Life. 10 

Patriarchal Persians made some alterations in the picture. Their 
idea of doomsday was as dire as any, with the usual convulsions of the 
earth, fires, flood, and fallings of heaven; but they denied the subse- 
quent creation of a new world. Their concept was not cyclic, but 
linear. Creation and doomsday could occur only once. After the great 
battle Armageddon at the end of the world, "The War of the Sons of 
Light with the Sons of Darkness," the heavenly forces of the sun god 
would prevail. 11 They would divide the sinful from the virtuous and 
assign them to heaven or hell. The aftermath was not another creation, j 
but eternal stasis, like the Brahman Nirvana. 

Passing through Jewish-Essenic and Roman-Mithraic sects into 
Christianity, this Persian doomsday became the familiar one in the west 
with numerous details borrowed from the older Aryan paganism. The 
last Trump played on Gabriel's horn was originally played on Rig- 
Heimdall's "ringing horn" (Gjallarhorn). 12 The Great Serpent slain 
by Thor in the final battle became identified with Satan. 13 Like 
paganism's sacred dramas, the final drama of the earth's dissolution 
was divided into five acts. 14 Christians even translated the Norse 
"Mother's Curse" as "Judgment Day" when they found it variously 
rendered Mutspell, Muspell, Muspelle, Mudspeller, or Muspilli. 15 

The Savior destined to appear before the world's end had an old I 
form in Buddhist scriptures as Kalki Avatara, the Destroyer of Sin, 
who would come from heaven to announce doomsday. 16 Persians 
copied him, changing his title to Son of Man, or Messiah. Before 1 70 
B.C., the Book of Enoch called him Christos, the Anointed One, and 
announced that he had already come and gone, and that his Second 
Coming was expected at any moment. 17 

According to the Gospels, Jesus identified himself with this person 
age who would be seen "coming in the clouds with great power and 


glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his Doomsday 

elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the 

uttermost part of heaven" (Mark 13:26-27). Jesus was not the only ^^^^^^^^^^ 

Messiah of his time. Josephus said before 70 a.d. there were countless 

Messiahs and Christs announcing the end of the world. 18 

The Gospels promised doomsday almost at once. Jesus said it 
would occur in his own generation: "There be some standing here, 
which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 
9:27). Early Christians accordingly expected the world's end so soon 
that there was no reason to marry and beget children who would never 
grow up, a major reason for Christianity's renunciation of marriage. 
Motherhood would only harm women in the convulsions of the last 
days: "Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give 
suck, in those days!" (Luke 21:23). 

Hopeful Christians found that Jesus's generation and many other 
generations passed without apocalyptic symptoms. Seeking an expla- 
nation, theologians discovered the text saying a thousand years were but 
a day in the sight of God (Psalms 90:4), another borrowing from 
Oriental sages who said a Day of Brahma lasted a thousand years. On 
the basis of this scripture it was decided that the world would end in 
the year 1000 a.d. With the approach of that year, Europe was seized 
by an apocalyptic mania. Farms and towns were abandoned as 
fanatics tramped the countryside announcing the Last Days. In some 
areas, agriculture and commerce came virtually to a standstill. The 
year passed uneventfully enough, but human society suffered greatly 
from famines and civil disorders caused by the doomsday belief. 19 

Some Franciscans declared that Christ really had returned to earth 
in 1000 a.d., disguised as St. Francis, the new Messiah, who was 
"entirely transformed into the person of Christ." Francis was said to 
have performed all the Christ-like miracles, cast out devils, turned 
water into wine, cured the sick, raised the dead, made the blind see, and 
so on. 20 There were those who went so far as to claim that Christ was 
important only as a precursor of St. Francis. 21 

Not only the Christ figure was supposed to return just before 
doomsday, but also Antichrist, his adversary, for the final battle 
between good and evil couldn't take place until all the forces were 
assembled on either side. According to a German legend, Antichrist 
could not come to earth as long as the Holy Roman (German) Empire 
stood. 22 This legend served to keep some of the warring nationlets in 
line at times, but the Holy Roman Empire was a rather loose, indefin- 
able entity for most of its existence. Antichrist was almost as 
constantly anticipated as Christ. 

Another who taught that the Last Judgment had already taken 
place was Swedenborg; he gave its date as 1757, the date of the 
establishment of his own Church of the New Jerusalem. He wisely 


Doppelganger refrained from predicting the world's end a short time in advance, but 

Dove others fell into this trap, dimming, in England, predicted the end of the 

^ wm world in 1867, with resulting injury to his credibility when the end 
failed to come. 

A prominent doomsday prophet was William Miller, inadvertent 
founder of the sects of Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Ad- 
ventists. He fixed the date of the millenium on March 21, 1843. His 
followers were afire with enthusiasm, but still failed to see Christ 
descending from the clouds as expected. Miller decided he had miscal- 
culated, and fixed a new date on October 21 of the same year. "On 
the appointed day of doom frenzied believers donned their robes, 
tucked an ultimate lunch in the folds, and took their places on the 
housetops, facing east. On the 22nd they ate their lunch and climbed 
down. Miller confessed his disappointment, but insisted 'the day of 
the Lord is at the door.' " 23 The Millerites never gave up hope. Their 
offshoot sects still exist and flourish, though naive displays of credulity 
are usually avoided. 

1. Mahanirvanatantra, 12, 53, 56, 177. 2. Mahanirvanatantra, 295-96. 

3. Ross, 66; Zimmer, 35-36. 4. Zimmer, 15. 5. Campbell, M.I., 148-49. 

6. Campbell, Ml., 149. 7. Lindsay, O.A., 107-8. 8. Larousse, 275. 

9. Squire, 1 18. 10. Branston, 289-90. 11. Black, 3. 12. Turville-Petre, 154. 

13. Branston, 281 . 14. Male, 367. 15. Turville-Petre, 284. 

16. Mahanirvanatantra, xlviii. 17 '. Reinach, 217. 18. Brandon, 248. 

19. Summers, V, 150. 20. de Voragine, 608-10. 21. Reinach, 307. 

22. Borchardt, 69. 23. de Lys,435. 


German word for one's "double," corresponding to the Egyptian ka, 
or a reflection-soul. Sometimes the afterbirth was said to be an un- 
formed twin of the newborn baby; by magic it might assume the 
living twin's shape and follow him through life. Sometimes this was 
thought to be the Doppelganger seen in one's reflection. 


Aphrodite's totem, the bird of sexual passion, symbolically equivalent 
to the yoni. 1 In India, too, the dove was paravata, the symbol of lust. 2 
Joined to her consort the phallic serpent, the Dove-goddess stood for 
sexual union and "Life." 

The phrase attributed to Jesus, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, 
and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16), was no random metaphor 
but a traditional invocation of the Syrian God and Goddess. 3 The 
Oriental meaning was remembered by the gypsies, whose folk tales 
said the souls of ancestors lived inside magic hollow mountains, the men 
having been changed into serpents and the women into doves. 4 


Christians adopted the feminine dove as a symbol of the Holy Dove 

Ghost, originally the Goddess Sophia, representing God's "Wisdom" 

as the Goddess Metis represented the "Wisdom" of Zeus. Gnostic ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Christians said Sophia was incarnate in the dove that impregnated the 
virgin Mary, the same dove that descended on Jesus at his baptism to 
impregnate his mind (Matthew 3:16). Pious admirers of Pope Greg- 
ory the Great made him even more saintly than Jesus by reporting that 
the Holy Ghost in dove shape descended on him not once but many 
times. 5 All this was copied from Roman iconography which showed the 
human soul as a dove that descended from the Dove-goddess's 
oversoul to animate the body. 6 

Aphrodite as a bringer of death, or "peace," sometimes bore the 
name of Irene, Dove of Peace. Another of her death-goddess names 
was Epitymbria, "She of the Tombs." 7 Romans called her Venus 
Columba, Venus-the-Dove. Her catacombs, mausoleums, and ne- 
cropoli were known as columbaria, "dovecotes." 8 Thus the soul 
returning to the Goddess after death was again envisioned as a dove. 
From this image, Christians copied their belief that the souls of saints 
became white doves that flew out of their mouths at the moment of 
death. In the Catholic ceremony of canonization, white doves are 
released from cages at the crucial moment of the ritual. 9 

Christian iconography showed seven rays emanating from the 
dove of the Holy Ghost: an image that went back to some of the most 
primitive manifestations of the Goddess. 10 In the Orient, the mystic 
seven were the Pleiades or "Seven Sisters," whose Greek name 
meant "a flock of doves." They were daughters or "rays" of Aphrodite 
under her title of Pleione, Queen of the Sea. 11 Herodotus said seven 
holy women known as Doves founded the oracles of Dodona, Epirus, 
and Theban Amon. 12 They were worshipped in the Middle East as 
Seven Sages or Seven Pillars of Wisdom: the seven woman-shaped 
pillars that had been upholding temples of the Goddess since the 
third millenium B.C. 13 See Caryatid. Arabs still revere the Seven Sages, 
and some remember that they were women, or "doves." H The 
Semitic word for "dove," ione, was a cognate of "yoni" and related to 
the Goddess Uni, who later became Iune, or Juno. 

The cult of the Doves used to incorporate primitive rites of 
castration and its modification, circumcision. India called the seven 
Sisters "razors" or "cutters" who judged and "critically" wounded men, 
the Krittikas, "Seven Mothers of the World," root of the Greek 
kritikos, "judge." They killed and gave rebirth to gods who were 
castrated to make them fertile, like women. The name of Queen 
Semiramis, legendary founder of Babylon, also meant "Dove" in the 
Syrian tongue. She was said to have castrated all her consorts. 15 

When circumcision replaced castration, the doves were involved in 
that too. Even Christian symbolism made the connection. The 


Drama official symbol of the Festival of the Circumcision of Christ was a dove, 

holding in its beak a ring representing the Holy Prepuce. "Christ's 

^ HMMHHH i^^^^ M fructifying blood" was linked with the similar emblem of Pentecost, 

which showed the descending dove on a background of blood red, 

officially described as a representation of the church fertilized by the 

blood of Christ and the martyrs. 16 

A certain "maiden martyr" called St. Columba (Holy Dove) was 

widely revered, especially in France, although she never existed as a 

human being. 17 Another curious survival of pagan dove-lore was the 

surname given to St. Peter: Bar-Iona, "Son of the Dove." 18 Some 

survivals may have been invented to explain the doves appearing on 

ancient coins as symbols of Aphrodite and Astarte. 19 

1. Graves, W.G., 123. 2. Waddell, 108. 3. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 118. 4. Trigg, 196. 
5. de Voragine, 188. 6. Strong, 136. 7. Graves, G.M. 1, 72. 8. Bachofen, 21. 
9. Gaster, 769. 10. de Lys, 13. 1 1. Graves, G.M. 2, 405; W.G., 194. 
12. Knight, S.L., 48. 13. Gaster, 804. 14. Briffault 1, 377. 15.Rank,93. 
16. Brewster, 50,246-47. 1 7. Attwater, 92. 18. de Voragine, 330. 
l9.d'Alviella, 91-92. 


All drama began as sacred or magical drama, seasonally performed, 
having the same universal theme: the challenge, trial, marriage, sacri- 
fice, and resurrection of the hero, or sacred king, or savior. The 
audience participated with songs, dances, sexual orgies, laments, eating 
the god and rejoicing at his restoration. One object was attainment of 
religious ecstasy: entering into the "dream." 

It has been shown that every dream bears "a remarkable resem- 
blance to drama." 1 Old Norse draumar, related to German Traum 
(dream), featured a sacrificial slaying of the god, the "tragic" part of the 
performance. 2 

Tragedy descended from the "goat-song" enacting the sacred 
dramas of Dionysus or Pan. The five-act structure of classical tragic 
drama still seen in the plays of Shakespeare was established by the 
five-act rites of the god. The acts were: (1) agon, the Contest: the 
incumbent incarnation of the god fought his challenger; (2) pathos, the 
Passion: the god united with the goddess and sent forth his soul with 
his semen (or blood) to fertilize the world anew he died in his own 
begetting; (3) threnos, the Lament: a "threnody" of wailings and 
gestures of grief, partly to absolve the audience of responsibility for the 
god's death; (4) anagnorisis, the Discovery: priestesses returned to the 
tomb to find that the god was "risen," in much the same ritual enacted 
by Mary Magdalene and other temple-women at the tomb of Jesus 
(Luke 24:10) where, significantly, no men were present; (5) apotheosis, 
the Deification: the resurrected victim became God, and rose to 
heaven, to be a part of his divine father. 3 On this occasion the 


worshippers threw themselves into an orgy of rejoicing, such as Droit du Seigneur 
distinguished the Roman carnival called Hilaria, "Day of Joy," follow- 
ing the death and resurrection of the savior Attis. 4 

Dionysus, Pan, Attis, Osiris, Orpheus, and many other gods of the 
mystery-cults contributed their dramas to medieval mystery plays, 
their linear descendants. The mummers' play, the ceremonies of 
Carnival, May Day, Harvest Home and other festivals used parts of 
the old sacred drama. Characters of the classic commedia were modeled 
on some of the pagan deities. The Dove-goddess became Columbine 
(Dove). The Serpent-god became Pierrot (Big Peter, or the Pied One). 
The name of Harlequin came from the Hellequins, or Hella cunni, 
"kindred of the Goddess Hel," souls of the pagan dead riding forth from 
her underworld. 5 

Masks were customary in the early medieval drama, just as they 
were in the plays of ancient Greece and Rome. From a magical point 
of view, the essence of the character lay in the mask, not in the actor 
who wore it. This was the primitive theory behind all appearances of 
mask and costume in religious ceremonies, from the animal-headed 
"gods" of Egypt human bodies wearing the deities' disguises to 
modern priestly vestments. Savages still say that, by putting on the mask 
and costume of an animal, spirit, or deity (or all at once), they do not 
simply make believe but actually become that creature. 6 See Mask. 

l.Sagan, 178. 2. Turville-Petre, 109. 3. J.E. Harrison, 344. 4. Frazer, G.B., 407. 
5. Potter & Sargent, 73; J.B. Russell, 146. 6. Jung, M.H.S., 44. 

Jroit du Seigneur 

The Lord's Right," also called jusprimae noctis, "the law of the first 
light." An outgrowth of the feudal system that equated ownership of 
and with ownership of women. The droit du seigneur meant that 
ivery serf's bride must be deflowered on her wedding night not by her 
>ridegroom but by the lord of the land. 

As laid down by Ewen III of Scotland in the 9th century, the law 
aid wives of common folk could be raped by any nobleman at any 
ime; and "the lord of the ground shall have the maidenhead of all 
irgins dwelling on the same." ' 

The church upheld the droit du seigneur as a God-given right of 
le nobility. For a vassal bridegroom to consummate his marriage 
/ithin three nights after the wedding was declared blasphemous "to the 

benediction" and tantamount to "carnal lust." 2 The overlord's 

however, was right and proper. The eastern church provided legal 

lties for a man who tried to consummate his marriage before his 

er could rape the bride.* 

Droit du seigneur was a general rule throughout the feudal period 

continued in Russia up to the 19th century. 4 



The system also continued in America's slaveholding south before 
the civil war, unofficially but generally acknowledged. Every black 
woman was the sexual property of her master, whether she was married 
to another slave or not. 5 Slave marriages could be legally ignored if 
plantation owners cared to do so. In 1757, Peter Fontaine said planta- 
tion owners begot so many children on their female slaves that "the 
country swarms with mulatto bastards." Thomas Anburey praised the 
system, calling it "a pleasant method to procure slaves at a cheap 
rate." 6 

l.Bullough ( 168. 2.Brasch,74. 3. Briffault 3, 242. 4. Fielding, 155. 
5. Brasch, 72. 6. Bullough, 300; Rugoff, 325-26. 

var. dryads, druides, 
druidai, drysidae, 
Gaulish druvis, Old 
Irish drui. 1 


Europe's sacred-oak cultists were known by many names. Greek 
myth said the dryads were oak nymphs, each an oracular priestess with 
her own personal tree spirit, like the biblical Deborah who lived 
under a tree that bore her own name (Judges 4:5). Dryads were called 
priestesses of Artemis, whose souls dwelt in their trees. They could 
also assume the shapes of serpents, and were then called Hamadryads, 
or Amadryades. 2 In their druidic groves throughout northern Europe, 
Strabo said, they practiced rites "similar to the orgies of Samothrace."* 

Dryadism and druidism were two phases of the same religion, 
evidently restricted to a female priesthood in the earlier, matriarchal 
stage, later open to male priests as well. Gaulish and British priests of th< 
oak groves formed a class of bardic wizards, keeping a sacred tradition 
by memorizing orally transmitted material, the nucleus of medieval 
sagas, epics, and ballads. 

There is no break between the ancient semi-magical formulae chanted b 4 
the Druids and the later incantation of the wizard and the "wise- 
woman. " They both arose in the Veda-like sacred hymns which formed 
the depository of the learning professed by the body of the druidical 
teachers and diviners and taught orally in the druidic schools. Most of 
them were never written down, and the fragments that we possess in 
writing are probably only the remains of a considerable body of oral 
literature. 4 

Druids were attacked by the Christian church for their pagan- 
ism, but especially for their propensity to include sacred women in their 
ranks. Scot said even in his day there were feminine spirits associated 
with trees, called Dryads in Greece and Druids in Scotland. They were 
shape-shifters, and could appear as either birds or women. "They 
know our thoughts, and can prophesy of things to come." 5 

Despite nominal conversion to Christianity, the Irish clung to 
druidism for many centuries. Their revered pagan king Diarmuid was i 


called "half a druid and half a Christian." To make St. Patrick's legend Durga 

more palatable to the Irish, monks claimed he had been educated by a 

druid. 6 Irish churches were known by the old druidic name of dairthech, ^^^^^^^^^^ 
"oak-house," formerly applied to the sacred grove. 7 

The "colleges" of druidesses, or dryads, passed by almost imper- 
ceptible degrees into a new designation of Christian nuns. One of the 
three classes of druidesses consisted of secluded sisterhoods, like the 
priestesses of Brigit, living in convent-like sanctuaries and tending 
sacred fires that were kept perpetually burning. Another, less secluded 
class of druidesses consisted of married women who lived at the 
temple and went home occasionally to visit their husbands. A third class 
was composed of temple servants who lived with their families. 8 With 
the coming of Christianity, the high holy sisterhoods were assimilated as 
nuns. The others were usually described as witches. 

The druidic religion lasted a surprisingly long time over a surpris- 
ingly wide geographical area. Christians continued to worship oak 
deities in their sacred groves through the 8th century a.d. in Hesse. 
According to Gildas, Christian monks copied their tonsure from the 
druids. Traces of druidism were found as late as 1874 in Russia. 9 Even 
clearer traces were found in the 20th century in the Holy Land, 
where the Goddess of the sacred groves was worshipped as Asherah 
since pre-biblical times, and was known in Canaan as progenitress of 
the gods. 10 Her priestesses the oak-nymphs continued to be venerated 
under the title of Benat Ya'kob (Daughters of Jacob), said to dwell in 
their trees near old shrines that were rededicated to mythical Moslem 
saints. The trees were taboo. Their wood was never taken for fuel, 
except for votive purposes. 11 

To some extent the mystical reverence for oak trees persists to this 
day. Many British and American towns have their venerable "Char- 
ter Oak" or some superannuated tree where seasonal ceremonies take 
place. Acorns and oak leaves are still considered appropriate for 
wreaths and harvest decorations, even if they no longer crown the 
| Goddess's sacred kings. 

1. Piggott, 105-6. 2. Lawson, 153. 3. Haining, 23. 4. Spence, 33, 151. 
5. Scot, 417. 6. Spence, 42, 53, 56. 7. de Paor, 60. 8. Boulding, 319. 
9. Spence, 78, 108. 10. Pritchard, A.N.E. 1, 97. 1 1. Frazer, F.O.T., 329. 


Kali's Creating-Preserving-Destroying trinity was said to consist of 
Parvati or Maya the Virgin, Durga the Queen-Mother, and Uma or 
jPrisni the Crone. Durga was entitled "The Inaccessible." A crowned 
Kmazon, she rode tigers into battle and defeated many demonic 
monsters, defending her children the gods. 1 Like other forms of the 
poddess-as-warrior, such as the Middle-Eastern Ma-Bellona, Durga 


Dusii drank the blood of her enemies. 2 What this really meant was that her 

Dymphna, Saint altars or images were anointed with the blood of war captives, killed as 

^^g^^^B^ trophies. 

As "The Inaccessible," Durga personified the fighting spirit of a 
mother protecting her young, and perhaps also the nursing mother 
sexually "inaccessible" to men, according to the old Oriental custom. 
Durga stood for the basic animal instincts of maternity, for which the 
adult male is no longer significant, and only her offspring claims a 
mother's attention. 

Durga was sometimes Shasthi, "the Sixth," Leader of the Moth- 
ers. This title arose from the custom of invoking her on the sixth day 
after childbirth, when the continuous spells for protection of mother and 
child could be brought to an end. The seventh day was a day of rest. 3 
This was the true beginning of the common patriarchal legend of gods 
who gave birth to the world in six days and rested on the seventh. 
Among such gods were Persia's Ahura Mazda, Memphian Ptah, Babylo- 
nian Marduk, Syrian Baal, and the Hebraic Jehovah. 4 

Durga's titles and character penetrated western ideas of the God- 
dess before the first century B.C. Rome's Great Mother Juno had the 
same attributes as her Oriental sister; she was Juno the Preserver, 
Queen of the Mothers. 5 

l.L*rousse,333. 2. O'Flaherty, 249. 3. O'Flaherty, 49, 353. 
4. Hooke, M.E.M., 73. 5. Dumezil, 297. 


Gaulish word for gods, from Latin deus. In medieval Christian 
writings, a synonym for incubus. 


Hebrew word for a possessing demon, especially a "clinging" one 
who would not leave its human host until thoroughly exorcised. 

var. Dympna Dymphna, Saint 

A canonization of what seems to have been a bit of graffiti on a brick 
found near Antwerp in the 1 3th century. The brick was buried near a 
coffin containing the bones of an unidentified man and woman. The 
words on the brick were ma dompna, "my lady," the traditional address 
of a medieval poet to his lady-love. 

Though having no more basis than these words on an old brick, 



the cult of St. Dymphna was carefully developed. A large asylum 
near Gheel was named after her, so she became the patron saint of the 
insane perhaps appropriately. To this day she is still touted as the 
intercessor for people with emotional problems. 1 

l.Attwater, 108. 

Dymphna, Saint 


The Creation of eve, in 
the version that says 
she was made from one 
of Adam's ribs. 
Florentine School. 
Wood panel; Fra 
Bartolommeo, ca. 1510. 

europa and the Bull, here 
shown on a red-figure 
vase, approximately 1 1 
by 1 1 inches. Greek, 
ca. 490 b.c. 

Eag'e Eagle 

Classic soul-bird, symbol of apotheosis associated with the sun god, 
^^^^^^^^ fire, and lightning. Greeks thought eagles so closely akin to the lightning 
spirit that they nailed eagles to the peaks of temples to serve as magic 
lightning rods. Hence the name aetoi, "eagles," for the pediments of 
Greek temples. 1 These were ancient forerunners of the "weather- 
cock" on the rooftree of a barn or house. 

Cults of fire and the sun made the eagle a bearer of kingly spirit: 
the god's soul returning to heaven after a period of earthly incarna- 
tion as the king. 2 It was the Roman custom to release an eagle above the 
funeral pyre of each emperor, just as an Egyptian pharoah rose to 
heaven on the wings of the solar hawk. 3 

Zeus himself took the shape of an eagle to carry his young lover 
Ganymede to heaven. This was often interpreted as a symbol of the 
father-god's reception of men's souls when they were initiated into the 
solar Mysteries. 4 

The eagle was connected with rites of calling down "fire from 
heaven," probably with a burning-glass, to consume sacrifices on the 
altar. Such "fire from heaven" came down from Yahweh to consume 
the sons of Aaron (Leviticus 10:2), who died like sacrificial victims to 
the solar gods of Tyre. Such victims "passed through the fire" as 
offerings, and rose to heaven in the form of eagles. 

We must bear in mind that in the East, whence all these beliefs and cults 
derive, not only was fire regarded as an all-powerful purifying agent, 
but death by fire was looked upon as an apotheosis which raised the victim 
to the rank of the gods. . . . "Fire, "says Iamblichus, "destroys the 
material part of sacrifices, it purifies all things that are brought near it, 
releasing them from the bonds of matter and, in virtue of the purity of 
its nature, making them meet for communion with the gods. So, too, it 
releases us from bondage of corruption, it likens us to the gods. 5 

The eagle was often identified with the fire bird or phoenix, 
who underwent a baptism of the fire that "burns all sins" and was 
reborn from his own ashes. The eagle also stood for the soul of 
Heracles, who passed through fire into heaven at seasonal festivals of 
Tarsus, and inspired St. Paul's belief in the virtue of giving one's 
body to be burned (1 Corinthians 13:3). The eagle was the totemic 
form of Prometheus, who "stole" fire from heaven, like the eastern 
fire-lightning-sun hero, man, or angel embodied in the Garuda bird. 
Garuda flew to the mountain of paradise to steal the gods' secret of 
immortality. Later, he assumed the golden body of the sun. American 
Indians had a similar hero, the thunderbird or lightning bird. 6 

As the royal bird of Rome, and the embodiment of deified 
emperors, the eagle was worshipped by Roman legionaries. Each 
legion had its sacred eagles, carried into battle like banners. If a legion 
should lose its eagles, the disgrace was unbearable; another whole 
expedition might be mounted to recover them. 7 


The Roman imperial emblem was inherited by the Germanic E-Anna 

"Holy Roman Empire" and its Kaisers, derived from Caesars. Thus Earth 

the eagle became a Teutonic symbol of sovereignty. ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

l.Reinach,90. 2. Strong, 182. 3. Campbell, Oc.M., 334. 4. Strong 187 
5. Strong, 194. 6. Hallet, 376. 7. Tacitus, 41. 


"Land of Anna," one of the territories of Babylon, named after the 
Goddess under one of her most common Mesopotamian names (see 
Anne, Saint). 


Herodotus said, "Three different names have been given to the 
earth, which is but one, and those derived from the names of women." ' 
Herodotus miscounted. Thousands of feminine names have been 
given to the earth. Continents Asia, Africa, Europe were named 
after manifestations of the Goddess. Countries bore the names of 
female ancestors or of other manifestations of the Goddess: Libya, 
Lydia, Russia, Anatolia, Latium, Holland, China, Ionia, Akkad, 
Chaldea, Scotland (Scotia), Ireland (Eriu, Hera) were but a few. 2 Every 
nation gave its own territory the name of its own Mother Earth. 
Tacitus said the tribes of Europe regarded Mother Earth as "the all- 
ruling deity, to whom all else is subject and obedient." 3 

Mother Earth received universal worship because she was the 
universal parent. American Indians still relate how all peoples and 
animals in the beginning emerged from Earth's yonic hole, and "it was 
just like a child being born from its mother. The place of emergence 
is the womb of the earth." Siberian reindeer hunters say the human race 
emerged from a Goddess, whose carved figurines protect the hunter's 
hut, when given offerings and prayers: "Help us to keep healthy! Help 
us to kill much game!" 4 

The central doctrine of Amerindian religion was reincarnation in a 
new body from Mother Earth's womb, the ancient meaning of "born 
again." A chief named Smohalla spoke of his moral obligations formed 
by this doctrine: 

It is a sin to wound or cut, to tear or scratch our common mother by 
working at agriculture. You ask me to dig in the earth? Am I to take a 
knife and plunge it into the breast of my mother? But then, when I die, 
she will not gather me again into her bosom. You tell me to dig up and 
take away the stones. Must I mutilate her flesh so as to get at her bones? 
Then I can never again enter into her body and be born again. 5 

Oriental Indians had much the same idea about entering the 


Earth earth. Hindu priests told a dead man: "Go, seek the earth, that wise and 

kind mother of all. O Earth, rise up and do not hurt his bones; be 

^^^^^^^^m kind and gentle to him. O Earth, cover him as a mother covers her 
infant with the skirts of her garment." 6 

Ancient Roman philosophers had the same idea too. "The Earth 
Mother is the mysterious power that awakes everything to life. ... All 
comes from the earth and all ends in the earth ... the earth produces all 
things and then enfolds them again . . . the Goddess is the beginning 
and end of all life." A Roman writer of the 3rd century a.d. prayed to 
"Holy Goddess Earth, Nature's mother, who bringeth all to life, and 
revives all from day to day. The food of life Thou grantest in eternal 
fidelity. And when the soul hath retired we take refuge in Thee. All 
that Thou grantest falls back somewhere into Thy womb." 7 

Patriarchal Christians might have been expected to speak of Father 
Heaven rather than Mother Earth, yet even they found it impossible 
to give up the older deity. The epitaph of Pope Gregory the Great said: 
Suscipe Terra tuo de corpore sumptum: "Receive, O Earth, what 
was taken from thy body." 8 Even up to the 20th century, tombstones of 
German Christians bore the formula: Hier ruht im Mutterschoss der 
Erde . . . , "Here rests in Earth's maternal womb. . . ." 9 In Chaucer's 
Pardoner's Tale an old man pleaded with the Goddess: 

. . . / walk alone and wait 
About the earth, which is my mother's gate, 
Knock-knocking with my staff from night to noon 
And crying, "Mother, open to me soon! 
Look at me, Mother, won 'tyou Jet me in? 
See how I wither, flesh and bones and skin! 
Alas! When will these bones be laid to rest?" 10 

This was more than a poetic metaphor. As late as the 1 2th 
century, many Europeans still recognized Mother Earth as a Goddess, 
perhaps their only supreme divinity. She was described in an English 
herbal of the period with no mention of God at all: 

Earth, divine goddess, Mother Nature, who dost generate all things and 
bringest forth ever anew the sun which thou hast given to the nations; 
Guardian of sky and sea and of all Gods and powers; through thy 
influence all nature is hushed and sinks to sleep. . . . Again, when it 
pleases thee, thou sendest forth the glad daylight and nurturest life with 
thine eternal surety; and when the spirit of man passes, to thee it 
returns. Thou art indeed rightly named Great Mother of the Gods; 
Victory is thy divine name. Thou art the source of the strength of 
peoples and gods; without thee nothing can either be born or made 
perfect; thou art mighty, Queen of the Gods. Goddess, I adore thee as 
divine, I invoke thy name; vouchsafe to grant that which I ask of thee, so 
shall I return thanks to thy godhead. " 

Up to the Renaissance, English farmers continued to call upon 
Erce, eorthan modor (Earth, mother of earth) when planting. 12 Similar- 


ly, up to the 20th century, Russian farmers continued to call upon Earth 

Mati-Syra-Zemlya (Moist Mother Earth) for almost everything. Instead 

of touching a Bible when taking an oath, a Russian peasant would put ^^^^^^^^^^ 

a clod of earth on his head, invoking the Mother's curse if he broke his 
word. 13 This perpetuated an ancient Greek habit. Even the patriar- 
chal Olympian gods swore their binding oaths by Mother Earth: Gaea, 
or Rhea, called Universal Mother, Deep-Breasted One, firmly 
founded, oldest of divinities. 13 Hesiod admitted that she ruled Olympus 
before the coming of the Hellenic deities. She ruled Russia too. The 
country bore her ancient name, Rha (Rhea), the Red One, mother of 
the Volga and all its tribes. 14 

Home and Mother were literally identical to people who combined 
both in their image of the earth-goddess. Many believed they must be 
buried in the same soil that supported them in childhood. Threatened 
by invaders, the matriarchal Cimmerians could have saved them- 
selves by moving away from their homeland; but they chose to face 
superior numbers of enemies, and die where they were, believing 
their lives valueless if they couldn't re-unite with the same Earth that 
gave them birth. 15 The Egyptian traveler Sinuhe felt the approach of 
death and hurried home to his motherland "to follow the Lady of All," 
hoping that she would "spend eternity by my side." 16 

Post-mortem reunion with the Mother always overlapped with 
the idea of marrying her. Man seldom distinguished clearly between his 
three roles as the Goddess's child, corpse, and bridegroom. Balkan 
peasants still view death as a sacred marriage, and dress corpses as for a 
wedding. Formal dirges say: "The black earth for my wife I took." 
Ancient Greek epitaphs similarly proclaimed the dead man "admitted to 
the bridal chamber of Persephone." Artemidorus wrote: "All the 
accompaniments of marriage are exactly the same as those of death." 17 

The archetypal image of the marriage-with-Earth had a curious 
revival in the special mid- Victorian pornography known as pornoto- 
pia, in which the female body was a landscape, and man 
correspondingly reduced in fantasy to about the size of a fly: 

In the middle distance there looms a large irregular shape. On the horizon 
swell two immense snowy white hillocks; these are capped by great, 
pink, and as it were prehensile peaks or tips as if the rosy-fingered dawn 
itself were playing just behind them. The landscape undulates gently 
down to a broad, smooth, swelling plain, its soft rolling curves broken only 
in the lower center by a small volcanic crater or omphalos. Farther 
down, the scene narrows and changes in perspective. Off to the right and 
left jut two smooth snowy ridges. Between them, at their point of 
juncture, is a dark wood . . . sometimes it is called a thicket . . . triangular 
in shape. It is also like a cedarn cover, and in its midst is a dark romantic 
chasm. In this chasm the wonders of nature abound. From its top there 
depends a large, pink stalactite, which changes shape, size, and color in 
accord with the movement of the tides below and within. Within the 
chasm which is roughly pear-shaped there are caverns measureless 


Earth to man, grottoes, hermits' caves, underground streams a whole internal 

and subterranean landscape. The climate is warm but wet. Thunder- 

^^__^^___^^^^_ storms are frequent in this region, as are tremors and quakings of the 

earth. The walls of the cavern often heave and contract in rhythmic 
violence, and when they do the salty streams that run through it double 
their flow. The whole place is dark yet visible. This is the center of the 
earth and the home of man. IS 

Marcus attributes these images of pornotopia to a spiritual loss, 
possibly related in a direct way to contemporary denial of the earth- 
mother figure in a religious symbolism, as well as Victorian society's 
suppression of sexuality: 

One gets the distinct impression, after reading a good deal of this 
literature, that it could only have been written by men who at some 
point in their lives had been starved. . . . Inside of every pornographer 
there is an infant screaming for the breast from which he has been torn. 
Pornography represents an endless and infinitely repeated effort to recap- 
ture that breast, and the bliss it offered. ' 9 

Acquisitiveness seems to have been another manifestation of the 
hidden psychic hunger for possession of Mother Earth. Her European 
names Urth, Hertha, Eortha, Erda, Hretha, etc. stemmed from 
Sanskrit Artha, " materia] wealth." Among the Hindu-rooted gypsies, 
"earth" meant good luck, fortune, money. 20 Latin Mater (Mother) 
became English "matter," of which Plutarch said, "Matter hath the 
function of mother and nurse . . . and containeth the elements from 
which everything is produced." 21 Tibetans still say the elements are 
produced by the Old Mother. 22 The material body has the special 
name of Anna-Maya, variations of which appeared everywhere in the 
ancient Mediterranean world as names of the Great Goddess. 23 The 
"soul manifested in matter" is defined as the Anna-Maya self. The sages 
say, "Mind and matter are at base one as modes of the same Power. 
. . . Mind is the subjective and Matter the objective aspect of the one 
polarized Consciousness." 24 

Western theology split this former unity into a duality, regarding 
matter (or flesh) and mind (or spirit) as intrinsically different from, 
and opposed to, one another. Thus, says Jung, "the word 'matter' 
remains a dry, inhuman, and purely intellectual concept, without any 
psychic significance for us. How different was the former image of 
matter the Great Mother that could encompass and express the 
profound emotional meaning of Mother Earth." 25 

After the image of Mother Earth as birth-giver, perhaps that of 
Mother Earth as receiver of the dead aroused the most profound 
emotional responses. When death was viewed as a return to the infantile 
state of sleep in the Mother's bosom, it seemed less terrifying. The 
Rig Veda says, "Crawl to your Mother Earth. She will save you from 
the void." 26 In medieval ballads, the hero's lady-love sometimes 
impersonated Mother Earth by covering her lover with her green 


mantle, to put him "out of sight" as if buried. 27 Greek peasants Easter 

thought the worst kind of curse on an enemy was to wish Mother Earth 

would not accept him: "May the earth not digest thee! May the black ^^^^^^^^^^ 

earth spew thee up! May the ground not consume thee!" 28 Such a one 

rejected by the earth would be a revenant or a restless ghost. 

In France during the 12th century, a sect of heretics were sent to 
the stake by the Archbishop of Reims, apparently for worshipping 
Mother Earth, among other offenses. Led to execution, one of them 
"cried again and again, 'O Earth, cleave asunder!'" His hearers 
thought he was trying to get the earth to swallow his enemies, but he 
may have believed the earth could open and swallow him to save him 
from the stake. 29 Like the original death aspect of Rhea or Cerridwen, 
Mother Earth still was supposed to devour her children. 

1. Herodotus, 226. 2. Agrippa, 269. 3. Tacitus, 728. 4. Campbell, P.M., 240, 314. 
5.deRiencourt, 23. 6. Hauswirth, 21. 7. Vermaseren, 10, 49. 8. de Voragine, 187. 
9. Lederer, 24. 10. Caucer, 269-70. 11. Graves, W.G., 64. 1 2. Turville-Petre, 1 88. 
13. Larousse, 89, 287. 14. Thomson, 252. 15. Mumford,416. 16. Maspero, 83. 
17. Lawson, 547,554. 18. Marcus, 271-72. 19. Marcus, 273-74. 20. Leland, 99. 
21. Knight, S.L., 22. 22. Bardo Thodol, 15; Waddell, 484. 21. Mahanirvanatantra, 11. 
24. Avalon, 49, 318. 25. Jung, M.H.S., 95. 26. H. R. E. Davidson, G.M.V., 92. 
27. Wimberly, 390. 28. Summers, V, 161. 29. Coulton, 55. 


Springtime sacrificial festival named for the Saxon Goddess Eostre, 
or Ostara, a northern form of Astarte. Her sacred month was Eastre- 
monath, the Moon of Eostre. 1 

Saxon poets apparently knew Eostre was the same Goddess as 
India's Great Mother Kali. Beowulf spoke of "Ganges' waters, whose 
flood waves ride down into an unknown sea near Eostre's far home." 2 

The Easter Bunny was older than Christianity; it was the Moon- 
hare sacred to the Goddess in both eastern and western nations. 
Recalling the myths of Hathor- Astarte who laid the Golden Egg of the 
sun, Germans used to say the hare would lay eggs for good children 
on Easter Eve. 3 (See Cat.) 

Like all the church's "movable feasts," Easter shows its pagan 
origin in a dating system based on the old lunar calendar. It is fixed as 
the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, 
formerly the "pregnant" phase of Eostre passing into the fertile 
season. The Christian festival wasn't called Easter until the Goddess's 
name was given to it in the late Middle Ages. 4 (See Menstrual 

The Irish kept Easter on a different date from that of the Roman 
church, probably the original date of the festival of Eostre, until the 
Roman calendar was imposed on them in 632 a.d. Nevertheless, the 
Columban foundation and their colonies in Britain kept the old date 
for another fifty years. 5 

The Persians began their solar New Year at the spring equinox, 


Ecclesia and up to the middle of the 1 8th century they still followed the old 

custom of presenting each other with colored eggs on the occasion. 6 

^ m ^^^^ m Eggs were always symbols of rebirth, which is why Easter eggs were 

usually colored red the life-color especially in eastern Europe. Rus- 
sians used to lay red Easter eggs on graves to serve as resurrection 
charms. 7 In Bohemia, Christ was duly honored on Easter Sunday and 
his pagan rival on Eastern Monday, which was the Moon-day 
opposed to the Sun-day. Village girls like ancient priestesses sacrificed 
the Lord of Death and threw him into water, singing, "Death swims 
in the water, spring comes to visit us, with eggs that are red, with yellow 
pancakes, we carried Death out of the village, we are carrying 
Summer into the village." 8 

Another remnant of the pagan sacred drama was the image of the 
god buried in his tomb, then withdrawn and said to live again. The 
church instituted such a custom early in the Middle Ages, apparently in 
hopes of a reportable miracle. A small sepulchral building having 
been erected and the consecrated host placed within, a priest was set to 
watch it from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Then the host was 
taken out and displayed, and the congregation was told Christ was 
risen. 9 

A curious 16th-century Easter custom was known as "creeping to 
the cross with eggs and apples," a significant use of the ancient 
female symbols of birth and death, beginning and fruition, the opening 
and closing of cycles. The Ceremonial of the Kings of England 
ordered carpets to be laid in the church, for the comfort of the king, 
queen, and courtiers as they crept down the aisle on hands and 
knees. 10 The penitential implication of the creeping ceremony is clear 
enough, but the female-symbolic foodstuffs are a bit mysterious. 

Germany applied to Easter the same title formerly given to the 
season of the sacred king's love-death, Hoch-Zeit, "the High Time." 
In English too, Easter used to be called "the Hye-Tide." n From these 
titles came the colloquial description of any festival holiday as "a high 
old time." 

1. Knight, D.W.P., 157. 2. Goodrich, 18. 3. de Lys, 1 17. 4. H. Smith, 201. 
5. de Paor, 70. 6. Hazlitt, 201. 7. Gaster, 603. 8. Frazer, G.B, 362. 
9. Hazlitt, 28 1 . 10. Hazlitt, 153. 11. Hazlitt, 316. 


"The Church," a title of the virgin Mary, who was supposed to 
represent the physical body of which Christ was the spiritual head. Holy 
Mother Church was both bride and mother of God, according to 
Christian mystics, postulating even an incestuous Sacred Marriage in 
the old pagan style. The erotic poetry of Solomon's Song was glossed 
as an expression of the love between Christ and "Ecclesia." Irenaeus 
said Mary-Ecclesia was "the pure womb which regenerates man unto 


God." As in the manner of pagan temples, even the church building 
was likened to Mary's body. 



Greek "nymph" at whose reflecting pool Narcissus met his death. 
According to the classical myth, Echo grieved so sorely for her beloved 
flower-god that she pined away until there was nothing left of her but 
her voice. 

Originally, she was Acco, the pre-Hellenic birth-goddess, in an 
oracular mood as "the last echo of the Voice," meaning the Voice of 
Creation, the same as the Goddess Vac in ancient India (see Logos). In 
Hebrew she was Bath Kol, Daughter of the Voice. 1 

Apparently the Word she spoke to the springtime god Narcissus- 
Antheus-Adonis-Hyacinthus was the death curse heralding the final 
phase of the sacred king's fatal drama; for Narcissus was the same god as 
Dionysus with all his flower-titles. 2 

1. Leland, 220. 2. Graves, G.M. 1, 288. 

Irenaeus Doctor, 
saint, and father of the 
church, said to have 
lived in the 2nd century 
a.d. as bishop of 
Lyons. His history is 
obscure, largely 
based on (possibly 
fraudulent) assertions 
of Eusebius, who 
claimed to have 
letters from Irenaeus, 
but none of these 
were preserved. The 
story of Irenaeus's 
martyrdom has been 
proved false. 


Greek ekstasis meant "standing forth naked," a word for the state of 

mind ensuing in a religious trance when the consciousness was stripped 
I away, leaving only the essential self. In Greece as in ancient India, 

proper worship was sometimes conducted in a state of physical naked- 
Iness (Hindu digambara) to symbolize purification from all 

distractions, to concentrate on the ecstatic experience. 


"Great-Grandmother," a Norse name for Mother Earth (Erda); also 
the word for sacred poetry inspired by her. Icelandic sagas or Eddas 
usually opened with an invocation to this Goddess, who gave birth to 
the oldest third of the human race. 1 

l.Turville-Petre, 150. 

sbrew "Garden of Delight," based on the Persian Heden or primal 
rden where the first couple were joined together as a bisexual being in 
Golden Age. Like all images of the earthly paradise, Eden was 
ated in the far west originally, where the sun went each night. That is 
ly the Bible says known lands lay "east of Eden" (Genesis 4:16). 


Edmund, Saint Edmund, Saint 

Egg-and-Dart Frieze 

Canonized form of the heathen deity worshipped at Bury St. Ed- 
munds, where he was seasonally slain, like Shiva, in the shape of a white 

Ritual bull-killing dated back to the Cretan Minotaur cult, through 
rites of Artemis Tauropolos, the Roman Taurobolium, and via 
Iberian paganism up to the bullfights of modern Spain. St. Edmund's 
shrine was supposedly founded on the tomb of the saint, a young 
man who became "chosen king" of the East Angles in the 9th century. 1 
But his legend was wholly mythological. Like other Celtic savior-gods 
he was tied to a tree and pierced by many arrows: the same fate meted 
out to the sacrificial bull, still demonstrated by Spanish picadors. On 
Edmund's heraldic crest, the martyr's head was held by a wolf, the 
traditional Doorkeeper of Death, and the Triple Goddess appeared 
symbolically in the shape of three Crowns. (See Dog.) 

Monastic records reveal the true totemic nature of "St. Edmund." 
A white bull was chosen each year to be paraded through the streets, 
while women wishing to conceive would caress him, for a doomed god 
was usually credited with great fertilizing power. A contract paper 
from the monastery said: "This indenture certifies that Master John 
Swassham, sacrist, with the consent of the prior of the convent . . . 
shall find, or cause to be found, one white bull every year of his term, so 
often as it shall happen that any gentlewoman, or any other woman, 
from devotion or vows made by them shall visit the tomb of the glorious 
martyr St. Edmund to make oblation to the same white bull." 2 

1. Attwater, 109. 2. Briffault 3, 190. 

E gg 

Mystical symbol of the Creatress, whose World Egg contained the 
universe in embryo. Orphics said the Great Goddess of darkness, 
Mother Night, first brought forth the World Egg which was identi- 
fied with the moon. Heaven and earth were made of the two halves of 
the eggshell, and the first deity to emerge was the bisexual Eros the 
Desired. The Egg was a common Oriental image of creation. Its 
western versions "went back to cosmologies of the Tiamat-type and 
to early exchanges between Greece and the East." ' Egyptians' signs for 
the World Egg was the same as for an embryo in a woman's womb. 

1. Lindsay, O. A., 116. 

Egg-and-Dart Frieze 

Classical architectural decoration sometimes called the Frieze of 
Venus and Mars: a symbol of the magic circle alternating men and 
women. On the frieze, ovals alternate with trident-shaped darts, 


female and male genital emblems. Ancient builders carried the frieze all Eide 

the way around a building or room without a break, since an El 

interruption in the frieze could mean a break in the succession of i_^^^^^^^^^ 

human generations. 

The same design in Egypt presented even more overtly sexual 
hieroglyphs: downward-pointing phalli alternating with narrow man- 
dorlas (female almond shapes), each topped by a small triangle 
representing a clitoris. 1 

The Tantric "magic circle" or chakra was a human equivalent of 
the Egg-and-Dart frieze. In pagan Britain, druidic priests also worked 
in magic circles alternating with green-robed dignitaries known as 
Ovates, or Eggs. 2 Wearing the color associated with Life in druidic 
religion, these must have been priestesses, like the eastern shaktis, or 
else men impersonating women by wearing female dress. 

Many counting-games originated with the magic circle, in which 
the even numbers were assigned to men, the odd numbers to 
women. Pagan traditions said odd numbers represented "immortality" 
because all odd numbers are female. 3 This explains why Roman 
religious festivals were scheduled for odd-numbered days, on the theory 
that these days were more propitious. 

1 . Book of the Dead, 273. 2. Pepper & Wilcock, 203. 3. Wedeck, 66. 


"Goddess-within," Greek concept of the female soul, corresponding 
i the Latin Idea. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to attempt 
replacing this ancient notion of Mother-given intelligence with a 
doctrine of astral theology. 1 
1. Lindsay, O.A., 102. 

Eire var. Erin 

Celtic name of Ireland, from "the Lady Eriu," or Erinn, the Triple 
Goddess. 1 She was a form of Hera, whose apple-isle was located on an 
island in the western sea. 2 

1. Squire, 126. 2. Graves, G.M. 1, 93. 


General Semitic word or name for a deity, especially in combining 
forms, as Isra-el, Beth-el, Dani-el, El-ijah. Both El and its plural, 
elohim, meaning many deities of both sexes, are the Hebrew words 
rendered "God" by biblical translators. Sometimes "God" is Elias, a 
Hebraic version of the sun (Greek Helios); this was the "father" Jesus 



addressed (Matthew 27:47-49). In Phoenicia, El was the Heavenly Bull 
at the head of the pantheon, spouse of Asherah as Cow-Mother. He 
usually appeared as a human figure wearing the head or horns of a bull. 

var. Elen, Hel-Aine, 


Britain's "Lily Maid," the virgin Moon-goddess bearing the same 
name as Helen of Troy; British tradition claimed the islands were 
colonized by Trojans. According to the bards, the Roman emperor 
acquired Britain only by marrying its queen, Elen. The people agreed to 
help build Roman roads because she ordered them, and the roads 
were called Roads of Elen of the Hosts: "The men of the Island of 
Britain would not have made those great hostings for any save for 
her." 1 

Elen or Elaine became the mother-bride of Lancelot-Galahad in 
Arthurian romance. Lancelot the father begot on her his own 
reincarnation, Galahad the son; but Lancelot in his youth had been 
named Galahad, and his mother was Queen Elaine. The Lily Maid 
gave Lancelot her sexual-symbolic charm to make him invincible: her 
pearl-bedewed sleeve of red silk. The womb-symbol of the Holy 
Grail was displayed in her castle, tended by her dove-soul, Colombe. 
Galahad saw this vision again in his last moments, as he expired at the 
altar in ancient sacred-king style. 2 

1. Mabinogion, 85. 2. Malory I, 377; 2, 268. 


One of the Seven Sisters (see Pleiades); virgin mother of Dardanus, 
founder of Troy, whose name is still borne by the Dardanelles. Electra 
was also known as a sea nymph. Myths of the classic period made her 
a "daughter" of two queens responsible for their husbands' ritual 
murders, Queen Clytemnestra and Queen Jocasta, who brought 
death to Agamemnon and Oedipus, respectively. Electra's name means 
"amber," and may have been applied to a priestess who wore certain 
amulets of amber as a badge of office. 


On each of the inhabited continents, the same four elements were 
distinguished as building-blocks of all substances living or dead, organic 
or inorganic: water, fire, earth, and air. Indians of Missouri and New 
Mexico, Aztecs, Chinese, Hindus, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Ro- 
mans all had the same idea. 1 The earliest known literate 
civilization, Sumeria, had already designated the elements water, fire, 
earth, and air. 2 The "science" of western Europe continued to 


believe in the same mystic elements up to the 18th century when real 
elements began to be discovered. 

Indo-European tradition said the four elements were created by 
Great Mother Kali, who organized them into letter-mantras carved 
on her rosary of skulls, to form the Sanskrit alphabet, which she invested 
with power to create what it expressed. Elemental sounds were 
divided into four categories: Va, water; Ra, fire; La, earth; and Ya, air. 
They were bound together by the Mother-syllable Ma (Kali Ma 
herself), representing "intelligence." 3 Tibetan Buddhists still say the 
elements are ruled by "Old Mother Khon-Ma," the Great Goddess. 4 

The Goddess was addressed in scriptures: "Thou art Earth, Thou 
art Water, Thou art Fire, Thou art Air, Thou art the Void, Thou art 
consciousness itself, Thou art life in this world; Thou art the knowledge 
of self, and Thou art the Supreme Divinity." 5 The ancient theory of 
the human body's elemental "humors," adopted by the medical profes- 
sion in the west up to the 1 9th century, was based on Kali's supposed 
distribution of elements in living forms. She gave water to create the 
blood stream, fire to make its vital heat, earth to produce the solid 
parts of the body, and air to animate it with breath. 6 

This theory was earnestly adopted by western philosophers. Firmi- 
cus Maternus said man is a microcosm "under the direction of 
Nature ... so that within the small compass of his body he might bestow 
under the requirements of Nature the whole energy and substance of 
the elements." 7 

The same elemental symbols shown in the four hands of Kali 
appeared in western iconography also. Kali's bowl of blood signified 
water; her scepter or dorje (lightning bolt) was fire; her lotus wheel 
stood for earth; and her sword was air. The Greeks assigned their 
own versions of these symbols to the Goddess Nemesis (Fate): a cup; an 
apple-bough or wand; a wheel; and a sword. 8 Later in European 
history, the same symbols of the elements gave rise to the four suits of 
the Tarot deck: (1) cups; (2) wands, rods, or scepters; (3) pentacles, 
coins, or discs; and (4) swords. These in turn evolved into the modern 
hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades. 

The two colors now allotted to the four suits of cards echo the very 
ancient Tantric concept of two sexes expressing themselves as ele- 
ments. Female water and earth were paired with male fire and air. 
Oriental sages maintained that mantras with a preponderance of fiery 
or airy (male) letters are cruel and destructive. Mantras with a prepon- 
derance of watery or earthy (female) letters are benevolent. 9 Like the 
corresponding card suits in red, the life-color, female elements were said 
to possess the active, life-giving energy. Greek philosophers later 
reversed this opinion, calling male elements "active" and female ele- 
ments "passive." Yet, even in the Christian Middle Ages, an 
aphorism purportedly derived from Moses said, "Only Earth and Water 
bring forth a living soul." 10 

According to Thales of Miletus, water was the Arche, the first of 


Thales of Miletus 

philosopher, said to be 
one of the Seven 
Wise men of the an- 
cient world. 



Elements the elements, having "mastery" over the others because it represent- 

ed the abyssal womb. 11 The combination of water and fire as 
h^^^i^^ female-and-male signified a very ancient theory that blood, the basic 
essence of life, was made of sea water infused by magic fire from 
heaven, which made it warm and red, though it still tasted like sea 
water. Vedic sages sometimes called the combination Kali and Agni. 
The Goddess, fructified by Agni's fire, become the Ocean of Blood 
at the beginning of the world, source of the vitality of all living things 
until the day of destruction. "Sacred fire" symbolized sexual passion, 
its heat engendered by fire-from-heaven gods like Agni, Lucifer, He- 
phaestus, Syrian Baal, Heracles-Melkart, Thor-Heimdall, etc. The 
fire god lost his life when he was swallowed up by the all-encompassing 
Mother of Waters; sages said he was "quenched in her yoni" like a 
lightning bolt quenched in the sea. 12 (See Lightning.) This image led 
to the Roman belief that the feminine water-element was dangerous 
to men. 13 

Of the other male-female pair, the air-earth combination obviously 
represented Father Heaven and Mother Earth, whose separation was 
caused by their firstborn son, the god who "divided heaven from earth," 
an Oedipal myth known throughout southeastern Asia, Oceania, and 
ancient Mesopotamia. 

Egyptians assigned a male-and-female pair to each of the primordi- 
al elements as they arose from the undifferentiated Abyss, or womb 
(Ma-Nu). These eight, together with their Great Mother, made up the 
first Ennead (Nine Great Deities). 14 Their elemental totems were 
associated with the four cardinal points, the four winds, the four sides of 
a Holy Mountain (pyramid), the four spirits called Sons of Horus 
who guarded the corners of a temple. 15 These were like the four Princes 
of Heaven revered in China and Japan as guardians of the four 
cardinal directions: a blue dragon in the east, a red bird in the south, a 
white tiger in the west, a black warrior in the north. Three animal 
spirits and one human were the same as Egypt's "four powers of 
Amenti." 16 The same elemental totems gave rise to the four angels 
of the Apocalypse and the four evangelists, symbolized in Christian 
iconography as a bull (earth), lion (fire), serpent (water), and eagle, 
angel, or man (air). 

American Indians had remarkably similar elemental symbolism. 
Villages and camps were divided into four quarters or phratries of 
fire, air, water, and earth, each with its colors and totems. For example, 
the Zunis associated wind with the north, war, and yellow; fire with 
the south, summer, tillage, and red; water with the west, spring, peace, 
and blue; earth with the east, autumn, magic, and white. Aztec 
elemental totems were the rabbit (north, black, winter, air); the flint 
(south, blue, summer, fire); the house (east, white, autumn, earth); 
and the cane (west, red, spring, water). 17 

New World mythology postulated four primordial aeons, each 
corresponding to an element. Sacred histories of Mexico showed that 
each of the former ages was brought to destruction by the same element I 


that ruled it. 18 "Earth, the world support and base, became the Elements 

iswallower of things. Air, the breath of life, became a devastating wind. 

Fire that descends from heaven tempered as the fire-of-life in ^^__^_^_^_ 

lifegiving rain came down as a rain of flames. And finally Water, gentle 

mothering vehicle of the energies of birth, nourishment, and growth, 

became a deluge." 19 

These myths provide a clue to the original invention of the 

elements. Of all substances or forces in the world, why should these 

four have been chosen as the basis of all things? The simple answer is 

that the elements represented the only four possible ways other than 

cannibalism to dispose of a dead body, thus returning it to an "origin." 

A body could be buried in the earth, burned with fire, thrown into 

water, or given to the birds of the air. Each funerary practice was viewed 

as a return to the same power that engendered birth. 

The same four methods of corpse-disposal are still practiced all 

together in Tantric Tibet. Common folk are chopped in pieces and 

exposed to carrion birds, as are the Parsees of India and Persia. 

Wealthier Tibetans are cremated, or buried if death was caused by 

disease. Sometimes, as among the Hindus, corpses are thrown into 
I rivers or lakes. 20 Vedic peoples followed both funerary customs of burial 

and cremation, maintaining that Yama, Lord of Death, received the 

soul either way. 21 

Some ancient thinkers tried to classify different nations under 

elemental categories, possibly on the basis of funeral customs pre- 
dominating in them. It was said that water-worship belonged to Egypt 
and the Nilotic Goddess; Phrygians were worshippers of "the earth, 
which was to them the Great Mother of everything; the Syrians and 
Carthaginians of the air, which they adored under the name of 
celestial Juno"; and the Persians worshipped fire. 22 

A few traditions listed a fifth element that the Greeks called ether, 
"heavenly," of which the immortal bodies of gods, angels, star-spirits, 
or saints were made. It was changeless, having no part in the eternal flux 
of other elements constantly combining and re-combining. The idea 
of changeless ether was so important to western notions of the immortal 
soul that it was never abandoned; even today some occultists call it 
the substance of the "astral body." In the 18th and 19th centuries, 
astronomers believed ether was a gas filling all of outer space. 

Etheric spirits were immortal, but the other elements were also 
represented by spirits of a superhuman nature; undines (water), 
salamanders (fire), gnomes (earth), and sylphs (air). Some said these 
were pre-human races born of the four rivers that flowed from the 
Great Mother's belly in the paradisial age. Elemental colors were 
associated with these four rivers of feminine nurturing fluids: water, 
blood, honey, and milk. Oriental gemsmiths assigned to them the jewels 
of mystical significance: sapphire or lapis lazuli (water), ruby (blood 
or fire), gold (earth), and silver, crystal, or diamond (air). 2 ' According to 
biblical symbolism, the female land was made of rivers Milk and 
Honey; the male god or ancient Savior contributed blood and water, the 




Malcficarum A 
treatise on witches 
and witchcraft compiled 
by Guazzo in 1608. 

Constantine Psellus 

1 lth-century Byzantine 
politician, scholar, 
philosopher, and 
courtier; author of a 
History, poems, and 
letters on many 

very same fluids that flowed from the body of Jesus in the "land of 
milk and honey" (John 19:34). 

The philosophical sect called Stoics after stoicheia, "the ele- 
ments" assigned color symbolism, signs of the zodiac, seasons, and 
deities to the elements. 24 Their system passed into the Roman Circus, 
which was divided into four elemental regions with their colors: green 
for Spring, Earth, Flowers, Terra Mater, and Venus; red for Summer, 
Fire, and Mars; blue for Autumn, Water, Heaven, Saturn, and 
Neptune; white for Winter, Air, Zephyrs, and Jupiter. 25 The same 
deities were still connected with the elements in the 16th century 
a.d.: Venus (water), Mars (fire), Jove (earth), and Saturn (air). 

The Compendium MaleEcarum quoted Psellus's list of elemental 
spirits in defining various kinds of devils in the Middle Ages. "The 
first is the fiery, because these dwell in the upper air and will never 
descend .... The second is the aerial, because these dwell in the air 
around us. . . . The third is terrestrial . . . some dwell in the fields and 
lead night travelers astray; some dwell in hidden places and caverns. 
. . . The fourth is the aqueous, for these dwell under the water in rivers 
and lakes. . . . They raise storms at sea, sink ships in the ocean, and . . . 
are more often women than men." 26 According to Scot, fire-spirits 
govern the intellect, water-spirits the instincts and passions: "Fiery 
spirits urge men to contemplation, watery spirits to lust." 27 Sexual 
prejudices entered into these definitions, for the supposed sexual 
polarity of fire and water was never forgotten. 

The human "temperament" came from Latin temperare, "to mix, 
to combine"; temperament was a mixture of elemental "humors" or 
fluids. These were supposed to be controlled by various gods associated 
with the elements. Thus, a character could be Martial, Jovial, 
Saturnine, or Mercurial. A predominance of blood gave a sanguine 
temperament; of phlegm, a phlegmatic one; of bile, a melancholic 
one; of ether, an ethereal one; and so on. The temperamental mixture 
was also related to tempor, the time or season, for the elements were 
categorized also with the four seasons of the year and various configura- 
tions of the stars. 28 These ideas were old even before Rome was built. 
The legendary ancestor of the Scythians was said to have arranged all 
things in the world under four elemental symbols that came down 
from heaven: a plough (earth), a bowl (water), an ax (fire), and a yoke 
(air, the "yoke" between heaven and earth, related to the word 
yoga). 19 In general, the lore of the elements was a prime example of 
what may be one of humanity's most characteristic behavior patterns: 

I. Lindsay, O.A., 20-2 1 ; Campblell, P.M., 458. 2. Campbell, M.I., 90. 
3.d'Alviella,240. 4. Waddell, 484. 5. Mahanirvanatantra, 262-63. 

6. Bardo Thodol, 15-16; Agrippa, 57. 7. Lindsay, O.A., 122; Wedeck, 236. 
8. Cavendish, P.E., 71. 9. Rawson, A.T., 70. 10. Agrippa, 43, 49. 

II. Campbell, P.M., 64; Oc.M., 181; Agrippa, 49. 12. Rawson, E.A., 57. 

13. Dumezil,319. 14. Dumezil,647. 15. Budge, E.M., 89. 16. Lethaby, 58-60. 
17. Lindsay, O.A., 20-21. 18. Castiglioni, 134. 19. Campbell, M.I., 154. 
20. Bardo Thodol, 25-26. 21. Rose, 63. 22. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 205. 23. Waddell, 81. . 
24. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 68. 25. Lindsay, O. A., 240. 26. Robbins, 133. 27. Scot, 419. ^ 
28. Funk, 301. 29. Jung & von Franz, 1 14. 


[Elephant Elephant 

A totem of Shiva, who took the form of the elephant and also of the 

[god who killed the elephant. After dispatching his victim, Shiva put on ^^^^^^^ 

the elephant's skin and turned himself elephantine, while "watched 

| by the Goddess-spouse." ' In the erotic poem Song of the Cowherd, the 

i god was incarnated as Krishna and the Goddess-spouse as his sexually 

insatiable consort Radha, "She-Elephant." Radha was named for an 

elephant because elephants were common symbols of the most 

powerful sexual energies. The Kama Sutra designated "elephant men" 

and "elephant women" those with the largest genitals and most 

voracious sexual appetites. Yet Radha was entirely human, described as 

Woman, "the object of devotion to which even God, the Creator 

himself, bows down." 2 

A male elephant was often given the title of Begetter, or Father, or 
Grandfather. 3 Buddha was begotten on the virgin Maya by the 
elephant god under his title of Ganesha, "Lord of Hosts," most 
probably derived from the use of elephants in warfare. 4 Every history 
student knows North African war leaders considered the magic of 
elephants so essential to victory that the Carthaginian general Hanni- 
pal insisted on trying to take them over the Alps to attack Rome from 
the north a disastrous tactical misjudgment, resulting in the loss of 
all his elephants and his war as well. 

The elephant-god "Lord of Hosts" had a flourishing worship in 
North Africa and Egypt, which is why this same title was taken by the 
[biblical Yahweh, who was identified with the elephant god at his sacred 
pity of Elephantine during the 5th century B.C. 5 Jewish mercenary 
soldiers stationed there insisted that their god was the same as the 
klephant-mate of the Virgin Mother Neith, or Anath: the two of 
pern were totemized as Cow and Bull Elephant at what was then called 
pe source of the Nile. 6 Elephants were worshipped as sexual- 
pymbolic deities in Egypt from an early date. Totem standards showing 
elephants, and artifacts of elephant ivory, appeared in pre-dynastic 
(times. 7 

Judeo-Christian scholars tended to ignore Yahweh's involvement 
In the elephant cult because, as Hooke says, "it is naturally repugnant 
to most people [i.e., men] to entertain the suggestion that Jahveh could 
ever have been thought of as possessing a female consort like all the 
paals of Canaan"; and for no more reason than this allegedly natural 
repugnance, evidence of the sacred marriage at Elephantine was 
suppressed. Yet the same author admitted that Jahveh was once one of 
the very same Baals, and even addressed as Baal in the Bible. 8 

A curious parallel to the Flight into Egypt of Yahweh's son is 
found in Buddhist iconography. The Virgin Mother was shown 
riding a white bull, led by Shiva in the costume of a peasant, holding in 
tier arms the elephant-headed Divine Child, the reborn Ganesha. 9 
Possibly the original Egyptian version of this reborn god entered the 
Bible under the name of Behemoth, who became an elephant- 
lieaded demon in the later mythology of western Europe. 


Elias, Saint The elephant still symbolizes the sacred marriage in a Buddhist 

Elizabeth, Saint fertility ritual. Monks lead a painted white elephant in solemn 

mm ^^^ ma ^^am^m procession, attended by men wearing women's clothes and making 
salacious jokes. "Through this ritualistic female disguise they do 
honor to the cosmic female principle, the maternal, procreative, feeding 
energy of nature, and by the ritualistic utterance of licentious lan- 
guage stimulate the dormant sexual energy of the living power." 10 The 
same transvestism and lewd language can be found in fertility rituals 
the world over. 

1. Zimmer, 173. 2. Campbell, Or.M., 352. 3. B. Butler, 224. 

4. Campbell, Or.M., 307. 5. Graves, W.G., 405. 6. Ashe, 3 1 , 59. 

7. Budge, G.E. 1, 22. 8. Hooke, S.P., 104, 182. 9. Ross, 47. 10. Zimmer, 108. 

Elias, Saint 

Canonized form of Helios, the sun god, called El the solar bull 
among Semitic peoples. 1 Elias was the god Jesus addressed from the 
cross; his hearers said, "This man calleth for Elias ... let us see 
whether Elias will come to save him" (Matthew 27:47-49; Mark 
1 5:35). Eusebius built upon the name alone a nonsensical Christian 
myth, calling Elias one of five Egyptians who were "questioned" at the 
gate of Caesarea and gave their names and their city, Jerusalem. 
"The governor ordered them to be tortured to exhort more precise 
information; but they remained mute and were beheaded." 2 

l.Lawson, 44. 2. Artwater, 112. 

Elizabeth, Saint 

Daughter of a 1 3th-century king of Hungary, Elizabeth was married 
at the age of 13 to the Landgrave of Thuringia. She was a mother at 14, 
a widow at 20, and a corpse at 24, having died of an excess of 

Her spiritual advisor was Conrad von Marburg, who loved to strip 
both Elizabeth and her maids and mercilessly whip them for the 
slightest infraction of his orders. On one occasion the young Landgra- 
vine was invited to visit a nunnery and went without asking his 
permission. He beat her so severely that "for three weeks the marks of 
the cords could be seen upon her." After her husband's death, other 
nobles robbed her of her estates and left her destitute; von Marburg 
ordered her to send away her last few friends and her children. She 
said, "I fear a mortal man as much as I should fear the heavenly Judge. 
Therefore I have given my obedience to Master Conrad . . . that I 
might be bereft of every earthly consolation." l 

She inflicted further austerities on herself, in addition to the abuse 
she received from von Marburg, and soon died of these physical 
hardships. Conrad von Marburg pulled political strings to have her 


canonized, to enhance his own reputation as her teacher. He busied 
himself in the torture chamber a task plainly suited to his personal- 
ityand was credited with bringing 8000 heretics to the stake in a 
single year. At last he was assassinated by a group of irate knights, 
against whom he had preached a crusade. 2 He was promptly canon- 
ized as a saint and a martyr. 5 

1. de Voragine, 684. 2. Lea unabridged, 41 5-25. 3. H. Smith, 258. 


Hebrew plural word meaning "the goddesses and the gods," though 
I every time it appeared in a Bible text it was translated simply "God." In 
the original manuscripts of the book of Genesis, Yahweh was only 
one of the elohim. Sometimes the singular form was taken as a name, 
e.g. the Phoenician bull-god called simply El, "the god." l 

Medieval wizards thought Elohim was one of the magical secret 
names of God; or, at times, it was taken to be the name of a devil. 

1 . Lamusse, 74. 



Spenser said the word "elf meant "alive." ' But there is little doubt 
that elves were the ancestral dead, still "alive" in their burial mounds; "it 
is well known that in Scandinavia the dead were formerly called 
'elves.' " 2 The Kormaks Saga, pagan Icelandic poem of the 10th 
century, described sacrifices to them for curative purposes: "Redden 
the outside of the mound with bull's blood, and make the elves a feast 
with the flesh; and you will be healed." 3 

The paradise of Alfaheimr (Elf-land) was always matriarchal, 
inhabited by the bright female spirits who made the sun. Like their 
eastern counterparts the dakinis, these Valkyries or fairies could be 
both beautiful and hideous, representing both birth and death. 5 In the 
new creation after doomsday, the new female sun would be Glory-of- 
Elves. 6 

Christianity opposed this ancient female-centered theology, as 
shown by accounts of elf-feasts as demonic sabbats where "cloven- 
footed dancers" trod their fairy rings. Henry More, 17th century 
English philosopher and poet, said they often appeared in northern 
England and in Ireland. 7 Ballads merged the demon lover with the "elf- 
knight," a wooer from pagan northlands. 8 The custom of the Wild 
Hunt or Night Ride, sacred to the elf-king (Odin), was transformed into 
a procession of wind-riding demons, as at Halloween and other 
Ipagan festivals. Leader of the night riders was called the Erl King, from 
Danish eherkonge, a king of those who belong to Hel. He associated 
with the sacred alder tree. 9 

The word elf was 
related to the helleder, 
people belonging to 
Mother Hel as Death- 
goddess. In general it 
meant heathen, both 
dead and living. 
Sigvat Thordarson in 
the 11th century 
called heathen people 
alfar, "elves," who 
worshipped their deities 
at feasts called 
alfablot (elf-blood) in 
certain "heathen- 
holy" houses ruled by 



Other plants often associated with elves were the holly sacred to 
Hel, the mistletoe, the mandrake, and various witch-herbs including 
rosemary, known as the Elfin Plant, 10 named after the Goddess herself. 
(See Rose.) 

l.Keightley,57. 2. Wimberly, 127. 3. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 156. 

4. Hollander, 154. 5.Turville-Petre, 231. 6. Sturluson, 92. 7. Summers, V, 115. 

8. Wimberly, 137. 9. Encyc. Brit, "Erl King." 10. Wimberly, 350. 


Greek paradise, Persephone's heaven for heroes, also called the Isles 
of the Blest; located either in the underworld, or in the far west, like the 
Hesperian apple-orchards of Mother Hera. Elysium too was an 
"Apple-land," like Avalon and Eden. 1 It became a common synonym 
for "paradise." 

1. Graves, CM. 1,123. 

var. Emain, Hy-Many 


Celtic "Land of the Moon," where the dead went, ruled by the 
Queen of Shades called Mania, Mana, Macha, Mene, or Minne: the 
Fairy Queen. Like the Norse heaven Manavegr, it was identified 
with the moon-path in the sky, and with earthly shrines, too. Macha's 
holy city was called Emain Macha. See Moon. 


"Heaven of Inner Fire," Greek philosophers' concept of the highest 
heaven above the planetary spheres, "empire" of the sun god, or the 
divine king of the celestial mountain. "Inner Fire" probably referred 
to the divine element ether, supposed to be the substance of spirits. See 
Elements; Mountain. 


"Seduced Moon-man," a Greek hero enchanted into eternal sleep by 
the Moon-goddess Selene. He was a God-begotten king of Elis, having 
ousted the former king in the usual fashion of ancient heroes. "When 
his reign ended he was duly sacrificed and awarded a hero shrine at 
Olympia." l This was the "sleep put on him" by his Goddess, who 
nightly kissed him where he lay forever on the mountainside. See 

1. Graves, G.M. 1,211. 



Ennead Ennead 

The Nine," primal Great Deities of Egypt: a male and female pair 

or each of the four elements, plus their Mother, the Creatress called bihi^h^bh 

>Iu, Nut, Ma-Nu, Temu, Maa, or Night, the Abyss, Chaos: the 

undifferentiated mixture of elements. See Creation; Elements. 


>eek enthousiasmos, "having a god within," the concept of posses- 
ion by a divine spirit. It was a doctrine set forth in Asia as Svecchacara, 
reedom from all sinfulness because all actions are motivated by the 
inner divinity. 1 See Antinomianism; Possession. 

1 . Angus, 151. 


Courage, in modern slang, is both "guts" and "balls," a combination 
f very ancient precedent. It was once thought that male genitals were 
rotruding ends of intestines, literally "testes-within." Egyptian sma 
neant both entrails and male genitals. 1 Egyptians prayed to be delivered 
m the day of reckoning from a Kali-like death-goddess Baba, who not 
>nly "devoured" men sexually but also "feeds on the entrails of the 
lead." 2 

Kali devoured her lover genitally and also devoured his entrails at 
fie same time. 5 Similarly, Aphrodite in her Crone form as Andro- 
ihonos, Man-Slayer, killed her lovers as a queen bee does by ripping 
ut their intestines along with their genitals. 4 In northern Europe 
here was the same ceremony: spring was brought to the world by 
pibolically ripping out the entrails of Loki via a rope tied around his 
enitals. His blood bathed the lap (womb) of the Goddess; then she 
piled, and the spring could come. 5 See Skadi. 

Because men's "guts" were supposed to possess the spirit of the 

hallic god, also mythologized as the underground serpent, it was 

sual to take omens from the entrails of sacrificial victims. Among the 

Lmazonian tribes of the Black Sea area, the readers of entrails were 

old gray-haired women." 6 The Romans called similar diviners haruspi- 

(es, "those who gaze into the belly." 7 

1. Budge, G.E. 1, 43. 2. Cavendish, RE., 1 12. 3. Neumann, CM., pi. 66. 
4. Graves, G.M. 1, 72. 5. Oxenstierna, 213. 6. Wendt, 137. 7. Rose, 237. 


lomer's "Rosy-fingered Dawn," the same birth-goddess as Mater 
latuta, Aurora, or Hebe. Her rosy fingers were usually assumed to 


Epona represent the pink clouds of sunrise, but the meaning may have been 

Erinys more literal, recalling the habit of Egyptian and Asian priestesses of 

g^^i^^g,^ staining their fingers red for religious ceremonies. See Henna. 


Celtic-Saxon Horse-goddess of Iron Age Britain, probably modeled 
on Cretan Leukippe (White Mare), Mare-headed Demeter, and the 
equine deities of central Asia. The cult of Epona "stretched from 
Spain to Eastern Europe and Northern Italy to Britain." ' Irish kings 
were still symbolically united with a white mare in the 1 1th century 
a.d. See Horse. 

1 . Larousse, 240. 

var. Erebus Erebos 

Greco- Roman name for the underworld, land of death, described in 
Orphic mystery-religion as "the Abysmal Womb." ' Like other ancient 
concepts of "hell," it was a place of regeneration. See Hell. 

I. Lindsay, O.A., 116. 


Underworld counterpart of the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar; compar- 
able to Nephthys in Egypt, Persephone in Greece, Kali-Uma in India, 
Hel in northern Europe. She was provided with a consort, Nergal, 
later transformed by Christian mythographers into a demonic official of 


Virgil's name for the constellation of the Virgin, also known as 
Astraea, Goddess of Justice, or Libra, Lady of the Scales. 1 She was the 
same celestial Judge as the Egyptian Goddess Maat. 

1. Lindsay, O.A., 277. 


"Avenger," title of Mother Demeter as the threefold Furies, who 
punished all trespassers against matriarchal law. In her fearsome aveng- 
ing aspect, the Goddess sometimes appeared as the Night-mare, with 
a black horse head wreathed with snakes. 1 See Demeter; Furies. 

1. Graves, W.G., 411. 


Erl King 

Danish ellerkonge, "king of elves," associated with the sacred alder or 
elder tree, and the underground land of the dead. As Lord of Death, he 
was the consort of Hel, Goddess of the elder trees. 1 He was really a 
form of Odin, leader of the Wild Hunt composed of ghostly riders on 
the night wind. 

Erl King 


Bisexual Greek deity of erotic love, identical with Hindu Kama. 
Orphics said Eros was the first god to emerge from the womb of the 
primal creatress, Mother Night, "of whom even Zeus stands in 
awe." ' Plato said Eros was the oldest of deities, the most worthy of 
honor, the one who gave souls strength to ascend to heaven after 
death. 2 In short, Eros was a kind of Savior, before cults of asceticism 
began to replace the older worship of sexuality as a primary life-force. 

1. Graves, CM., 1, 30. 2. Lindsay, O.A., 125. 


Babylonian name for the Queen of Heaven, who chose kings and 
married them, and controlled the function of birth among all creatures 
in her land. 1 An alternate title of the Goddess Ishtar, or Inanna. 

l.Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 114. 


Jewish sect of ascetics, based on sun-worshipping Persian anchorites, 
who in turn evolved their system from Jain yogis professing to work 
miracles by living apart from the world and practicing extreme self- 
denial. Jesus, John the Baptist, and Simon Magus were said to have 
been trained in Essenic communities, which formed the bulk of the 
first Christians. Epiphanius said, "They who believed on Christ were 
called Essenes before they were called Christians." l 

An Essenic hierarchy included a chief priest called Christos 
(Anointed One), "head of the entire Congregation of Israel." There 
were ordinary priests called "sons of Aaron," and another functionary 
known as the Messiah of Israel. 2 The latter was also called Teacher of 
Righteousness. He suffered physical abuse in atonement for the sins of 
the entire community, enduring "vindictive sentences of scourging 
and the terrors of painful sicknesses, and vengeance on his fleshly 

Josephus said the Essenes "reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem 

Epiphanius Sainted 
4th-century father of 
the church, friend 
of St. Jerome, writer of 
many tracts and 
polemics against 


Essenes continence, and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue. They 

neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons' children, while they are 
^^^^^^^ pliable, and fit for learning; and esteem them to be of their kindred, 
and form them according to their own manners." We are not told 
whether these "other persons' children" were abandoned by their 
parents, or sold, or given to, or kidnapped by, the Essenes. These harsh 
anchorites imposed cruel sentences for the least infraction of rules, 
partial starvation being the most common punishment. Some suffered 
punishments lasting two or more years for wavering from the doc- 
trines of the community. 4 

The doctrines were strikingly similar to those of early Christianity. 
Essenes anticipated St. Augustine in teaching that immortal souls 
belonged in heaven, but were drawn down to earth and entrapped in 
corruptible flesh by the "natural enticement" of sex. 5 The soul's 
purity might be recovered by ascetic techniques such as mortification of 
the flesh, fasting, renunciation of sensual pleasures, and by solitary 
meditation in the wilderness, like the voluntary exiles of John and Jesus. 

Essenes called themselves Therapeutae, "healers," claiming their 
austere lifestyle gave them power to cast out demons of sickness, even 
to restore life to the dead; Jesus's raising of Lazarus was a typical Essenic 
miracle. 6 Much of their training as exorcists consisted of learning lists 
of spirits' names, and the holy names that would expel them. Like Jesus 
in the episode of the Gadarene swine, Essenes always demanded the 
demons' names. (See Name.) They were sworn to strictest secrecy 
regarding the magical names they used in their exorcisms. 7 

Essenes preached giving away all one's worldly goods upon joining 
the sect, which meant those who joined gave away everything they 
owned to their superiors. Dire punishments were meted out to those 
who lied about their possessions in order to hold something back for 
themselves or their families. 8 An Essenic episode in the Gospels tells of 
Ananias and his wife Sapphira, killed by St. Peter for giving the 
apostles only a part, but not all, of the money they received for a sale of 
land. Peter and his associates were jailed for murder, but later escaped 
(Acts 5:2-10, 18). 

Despite their vows of poverty, the Essenes were strangely obsessed 
with visions of wealth and power coming to them after Armageddon, 
"The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness." 9 Sons of 
Light of course were the Essenes, and all others outside their 
brotherhood were Sons of Darkness, otherwise called "men of the 
Pit." 10 The Essenes believed firmly in the imminence of the Last 
Days, when they would be called upon to fight the forces of evil. Their 
reward would be to rule the world in an oddly materialistic manner, 
as envisioned by their scriptures: 

Arise, O Warrior, take thy captives, O glorious man! Seize thy plunder, O 
doer of mighty deeds! Lay thy hand on the necks of thy enemies and 
thy foot on the heaps of the slain; smite the nations, thy adversaries, and 
may thy sword devour guilty flesh Let there be a multitude of 


possessions in thy fields, silver and gold and precious stones in thy palaces. Esther 

...Let thy gates be continuously open, that the wealth of the nations 

may be brought unto thee; and let their kings serve thee, and all the _^^^^__^^___ 

oppressors bow down to thee and lick the dust of thy feet. " 

A large colony of Essenes occupied the Qumran community 
from 1 10 B.C. to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 a.d. with a significant period 
of vacancy during the reign of Herod, 31-4 B.C. In 31 b.c. the site 
had to be abandoned because a severe earthquake cracked the water 
cistern and ruined the buildings. 12 

Survivors evidently took the earthquake as a sign of the oncoming 
Last Days and went forth into the world to preach their message. 
Josephus said before 70 a.d. there were many Messiahs and Christs 
announcing the end of the world. 15 Some were willing to die a 
martyr's death, believing this would gain them special privileges in the 
world of the hereafter. One such martyr may have been John the 
Baptist, who came from the wilderness to call Herod and his court to 
repentance, and remained to serve as a sacred king (see Salome). 

Early Mandaean Christians said the true prophet was not Jesus but 
John the Baptist. They called themselves Christians of St. John, and 
also Nasoraje, or "Nazarenes." H One of the colonies of exiled hermits 
from Qumran settled around Nazareth and took up the craft of 
carpentry; hence the craft-brotherhood of Nazorenes, from najjar, 
"carpenters," after whom the town may have been named. Some 
Christian authorities of the first centuries a.d. wrote that during this 
period "all Christians were called Nazorenes." 15 Jesus too was called 
a Nazorene. The oldest Gospel called him "Jesus the carpenter" (Mark 

Oddly, what began in the east as a carpenters' metaphor passed 
into the Gospels as a masons' metaphor. Essene-like Buddhist her- 
mits described themselves as logs rejected by the carpenter's craft. 16 The 
same words were put into Jesus's mouth, somewhat altered: he called 
himself a stone rejected by the masons (Matthew 21:42). 

1. Doane,426. 2. Pfeifer, 133. 3. Augstein, 108. 4. Pfeifer, 59, 138. 

5. Pfeifer, 99; Encyc. Brit., "Augustine." 6. Mumford, 146. 7. Legge 1, 158. 

8. Pfeifer, 59. 9. Black, 3. 10. Pfeifer, 51. 11. Pfeifer, 82. 

12. Pfeifer, 24; Campbell, Oc.M., 285. 13. Brandon, 248. 14. Reinach, 77. 

15. Black, 72. 16. Campbell, Or.M., 279. 


'Star," the Hebrew rendering of Ishtar or Astarte. The biblical Book 
of Esther is a secularized Elamite myth of Ishtar (Esther) and her 
consort Marduk (Mordecai), who sacrificed the god Hammon, or 
Amon (Haman). Yahweh was never mentioned, because the Jews of 
Elam worshipped Marduk, not Yahweh. (See Purim.) 

Esther probably was the name given to any priestess chosen to 
represent the Goddess on the occasion of the king's sacred marriage. 


Ethan Even the Bible story admits that Esther-Ishtar was not the real name of 

Euphemia, Saint the Elamite-Jewish queen. Her real name was Hadassah (Esther 2:7). 


Biblical sage almost as wise as Solomon (1 Kings 4:31). His origin 
was not really biblical. He was the Sumerian god-king Etana, called 
Eytan in the land of Canaan. He ascended to heaven on eagle-back, 
like Ganymede, to reach the Goddess and learn the secret of eternal life. 
He came down again to earth, some said thrown down by the jealous 
sun god for his hubris. 1 Evidently he returned to earth to be reincarnat- 
ed in the next king. (See Kingship.) 

1. Albright, 250. 

Eugenia, Saint 

"Healer" or "Health," a title of the Goddess converted into a 
fictitious "virgin martyr." Her legend claimed she was one of the 
women who entered a Christian sect by "turning herself into a man," 
for some sects would not admit women unless they did this. 1 St. 
Eugenia accordingly became a monk and called herself Brother 
Eugenius. The same story told of all she-monks was told of her: she was 
falsely accused of rape and condemned to a life of expiation, which 
she patiently endured. Still, the healing miracles attributed to her shrines 
were older than her Christian legend, showing that she was really the 
Goddess whose "eugenic" springs were even more popular in the 1st 
century than Lourdes or Compostela in the 20th. 2 

1 . Malvern, 33. 2. de Voragine, 537. 


"Good Ones," a euphemistic title of the Furies, intended to placate 
their wrath and refrain from attracting their attention through invoca- 
tion of their real names. 


"Order," the first of Aphrodite's three Horae; one of the names of 
the Triple Goddess's virgin aspect as the Creatress who first brought 
order out of chaos. See Creation; Diakosmos. 

Euphemia, Saint 

"Good-speaker," a fictitious Christian saint based on a title of the 
Goddess as the Muse of mellifluous speech. St. Euphemia's legend 


shows that she was not a human being but a statue. She stood aloft on 
a high place, and could not be reached except with ladders; those who 
climbed up to pull her down were afraid, because the first of their 
number had been stricken with paralysis upon touching her and was 
borne away half dead. 1 That is, she was a holy image protected by so 
stern a taboo that even early Christians feared to violate it. 

1. de Voragine, 552. 



"Full Moon," the Great Goddess as mother of the entire continent. 
She was embodied in the same white Moon-cow as Hathor, Hera, Io, 
and Kali who "rode" Shiva in the guise of the white bull Nandi, 
just as Europa rode Zeus disguised as a white bull. 1 Her Hellenic legend 
said Zeus kidnapped and raped her; but it was "deduced from pre- 
Hellenic pictures of the Moon-priestess triumphantly riding on the 
Sun-bull, her victim." 2 Garlanded white bulls were sacrificed to the 
lunar cow-goddess in Crete and Mycenae from a very early date. 
According to Pausanias, Europa was a surname of the ancient 
Mycenaean goddess, Demeter.* 

1. Campbell, Or.M., 63. 2. Graves, G.M. 1, 197. 3. Guthrie, 225. 


"Universal Dike," Mother of Fate, the Orphic name for the under- 
world Goddess who received the soul of Orpheus. Hellenic writers 
converted her into Orpheus's wife, sent by a serpent's bite to the land 
if death, where he followed her; but this was an artificial myth of very 
ate origin. The icons from which came the apocryphal story of 
Eurydice's death seem to have represented Orpheus entering the 
anderworld, to be greeted by Hecate with her serpents. Eurydice's 
'snake in the grass" was her sacred animal, constant companion of the 
jnderworld Goddess. 1 

Medieval poets knew the same classic Goddess as a queen of 
England, "Heurodis," whose consort was a god-begotten king of 
Winchester, "Sir Orfeo." 2 

1. Graves, G.M. 1,115. 2. Loomis, 315-19. 

Pausanias Greek 
traveler and geographer 
of the 2nd century 
a.d. Living in a time of 
declining culture, he 
was inspired by a desire 
to describe the 
ancient sacred sites for 


'Universal One," the Pelasgian Creatress who danced alone on the 
mmordial ocean of Chaos until she brought the elements to "order' 
themis, another of her names). Like Isis and Eve, she created the 
feat Serpent, a disembodied phallus, to be her first consort. She 
>ermitted him to fertilize her womb, but then he began to call 
limself the Creator of everything. Angered by his arrogance, she 



bruised his head with her heel and cast him down to the underworld. 1 

Christian Gnostics told much the same story of the Mother of 
Creation, whom they called Sophia, and her first consort Jehovah, 
who was able to help in the work of creation only because she "infused 
him with energy" and implanted in him her own ideas. He too 
became too arrogant and had to be punished for forgetting his Mother. 2 
See Eve. 

Like many titles of the Great Goddess, Eurynome was both 
diabolized and masculinized by later Christian writers, who con- 
signed her to hell and made her a male "demon Eurynome," sometimes 
described as a Prince of Death. 3 

1. Graves, CM. 1,27. 2. Pagels, 57-58. 3.deGivry, B2, 141. 

One of her Tantric 
names was Adita Eva: 
"the Very 
Beginning." 2 In 
northern Babylonia, 
Eve was known as "the 
divine Lady of 
Eden," or "Goddess of 
the Tree of Life." 3 
Assyrians called her 
Nin-Eveh, "Holy 
Lady Eve," after whom 
their capital city was 


The biblical title of Eve, "Mother of All Living," was a translation of 
Kali Ma's title Jaganmata. She was also known in India as Jiva or leva, 
the Creatress of all manifested forms. 1 In Assyrian scriptures she was 
entitled Mother- Womb, Creatress of Destiny, who made male and 
female human beings out of clay, "in pairs she completed them." 4 
The first of the Bible's two creation myths gives this Assyrian version, 
significantly changing "she" to "he" (Genesis 1:27). 

The original Eve had no spouse except the serpent, a living 
phallus she created for her own sexual pleasure. 5 Some ancient 
peoples regarded the Goddess and her serpent as their first parents. 6 
Sacred icons showed the Goddess giving life to a man, while her 
serpent coiled around the apple tree behind her. 7 Deliberate misinter- 
pretation of such icons produced ideas for revised creation myths like 
the one in Genesis. Some Jewish traditions of the first century B.C., 
however, identified Jehovah with the serpent deity who accompanied 
the Mother in her garden. 8 Sometimes she was Eve, sometimes her 
name was given as Nahemah, Naama, or Namrael, who gave birth to 
Eve and Adam without the help of any male, even the serpent. 9 

Because Jehovah arrogantly pretended to be the sole Creator, Eve I 
was obliged to punish him, according to Gnostic scriptures. Though 
the Mother of All Living existed before everything, the God forgot she j 
had made him and had given him some of her creative power. "He 
was even ignorant of his own Mother. ... It was because he was foolish 
and ignorant of his Mother that he said, 'I am God; there is none 
beside me.'" Gnostic texts often show the creator reprimanded and 
punished for his arrogance by a feminine power greater and older 
than himself. 10 

The secret of God's "Name of power," the Tetragrammaton, 
was that three-quarters of it invoked not God, but Eve. YHWH, yod- 
he-vau-he, came from the Hebrew root HWH, meaning both "life" 
and "woman" in Latin letters, E-V-E. 16 With the addition of an I 


(yod), it amounted to the Goddess's invocation of her own name as the 
Word of creation, a common idea in Egypt and other ancient lands. 17 
Gnostic scriptures said Adam was created by the power of Eve's 
word, not God's. She said, "Adam, live! Rise up upon the earth!" As 
soon as she spoke the word, her word became reality. Adam rose up and 
opened his eyes. "When he saw her, he said, 'You will be called "the 
mother of the living," because you are the one who gave me life.'" 18 

Adam's name meant he was formed of clay moistened with blood, 
the female magic oiadamah or "bloody clay." 19 He didn't produce 
the Mother of All Living from his rib; in earlier Mesopotamian stories, 
he was produced from hers. (See Birth-giving, Male.) His Babylo- 
nian predecessor Adapa (or Adamu) was deprived of eternal life not by 
the Goddess, but by a hostile God. 

The biblical idea was a reversal of older myths in which the 
Goddess brought forth a primal male ancestor, then made him her 
mate the ubiquitous, archetypal divine-incest relationship traceable in 
every mythology. The reversal was not even original with biblical 
authors. It was evolved by Aryan patriarchs who called Brahma the 
primal male ancestor. They claimed their god brought forth the 
Mother of All Living from his own body, then mated with her, so she 
gave birth to the rest of the universe. 20 In the Hebraic version, a 
wombless God made his offspring with his hands, and the actual birth- 
giving was left to Adam. The Bible as revised by patriarchal scribes 
said nothing about a divine birth-giving, since the scribes were deter- 

ined to separate the concepts of "deity" and "mother" insofar as 

Gnostic scriptures however reverted to the older tradition and 
said Eve not only created Adam and obtained his admission to heaven; 
she was the very soul within him, as Shakti was the soul of every 
Hindu god and yogi. Adam couldn't live without "power from the 
Mother," so she descended to earth as "the Good Spirit, the 
Thought of Light called by him 'Life' (Hawwa)." She entered into 
Adam as his guiding spirit of conscience: "It is she who works at the 
creature, exerts herself on him, sets him in his own perfect temple, 
nlightens him on the origin of his deficiency, and shows him his 
(way of) ascent." Through her, Adam was able to rise above the 
gnorance imposed on him by the male God. 21 

By this Gnostic route came the Midrashic assertion that Adam and 
Sve were originally androgynous, like Shiva and his Shakti. She dwelt 
n him, and he in her; they were two souls united in one body, which 
3od later tore apart, depriving them of their bliss of union. Cabalists 
ook up the idea and said the paradise of Eden can be regained only 
rvhen the two sexes are once more united; even God must be united 
vith his female counterpart, the heavenly Eve called Shekina. 22 

Another Gnostic version of the story made God a true villain, who 
ursed Adam and Eve and expelled them from paradise out of 
ealousy of their happiness. He also lusted after the Virgin Eve, raped 
ler, and begot her sons Jahveh and Elohim, whose other names were 


Eve was one of the 
common Middle- 
Eastern names of the 
superior feminine 
power. To the 
Hittites, she was 
Hawwah, "Life." 11 
To the Persians, she 
was Hvov, "the 
Earth." 12 Aramaeans 
called her Hawah, 
"Mother of All 
Living." 13 In 
Anatolia she was Hebat 
or Hepat, with a 
Greek derivative Hebe, 
"Virgin Mother 
Earth," with the same 
relationship to the 
Great Goddess Hera as 
Kore-Persephone to 
Demeter, and Hebe 
may have been an 
eponymous ancestress 
of "Hebrews." A 
Semitic root of her 
names was hayy, a 
matrilineal kinship 
group, once 
considered the "life" of 
every tribe by direct 
descent from the 
Creatress. H The 
names of Eve, the 
Serpent, and "Life" 
are still derived from the 
same root in 
Arabic. 15 



St. John Chrysostom, 

John," 4th-century 
Christian orator who 
served as Patriarch of 
Constantinople until he 
incurred the wrath of 
the empress Eudoxia, 
who arranged to 
have him deposed and 

Tertullian (Quintus 
Septimius Florens Ter- 
tullianus) Influential 
early Christian writer 
and father of the 
church, ca. 155-220 
a.d., born in Car- 
thage of pagan parents. 

Cain and Abel. Here was one of several myths that made Eve the 
mother not only of Adam, but also of Jehovah, and of all the 
elements as well. The myth went on to say the first of Eve's offspring 
ruled the male elements of fire and air; the second ruled the female 
elements of earth and water. 23 

Like her prototype Kali Jaganmata, Eve brought forth death as 
well as life that is, she brought forth all living forms, all of which 
were subject to death for the very reason that they were alive. Under 
patriarchal systems of belief, the fact that every living thing is doomed 
to die was blamed on the Mother who gave it a finite life. Instead of 
blaming God for casting Adam out of the paradise where he might 
have lived forever, the patriarchs blamed Eve for bringing this about. 
The Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach said evil began with Woman (Eve): 
"because of her we all die." 24 Fathers of the Christian church said Eve 
conceived by the serpent and brought forth Death. The seeds of all 
women already existed in Eve, St. John Chrysostom maintained, so that 
in her sin "the whole female race transgressed." 25 

The Book of Enoch said God created death to punish all humanity 
for Eve's sin, but many patriarchal thinkers hesitated to blame God 
even indirectly. The prevalent opinion was that when Eve disobeyed 
the deity, death somehow just happened. 26 St. Paul blamed only Eve, 
absolving Adam from guilt for the apple-eating incident: "Adam was not 
deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (1 
Timothy 2:14). A church council announced in 418 a.d. that it was 
heresy to say death was a natural necessity rather than the result of 
Eve's disobedience. 27 

This was the real origin of the church fathers' fear and hatred of 
women, which expanded into a sexist attitude that permeated all of 
western society: Woman was identified with Death. Her countervailing 
responsibility for birth was taken away, and the creation of life was 
laid to the credit of the Father-god, whose priests claimed he could 
remove the curse of death. As every woman was understood to be an 
emanation of Eve, Tertullian said to Everywoman: 

And do you not know that you are an Eve? The sentence of God on this 
sex of yours lives in this age; the guilt must of necessity live too. You 
are the devil's gateway . . . the first deserter of the divine law; you are she 
who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. 
You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert | 
that is, death, even the Son of God had to die. 28 

Medieval theologians said Adam was forgiven. Christ descended 
into hell and rescued Adam along with other biblical patriarchs. He 
escorted Adam into heaven, saying, "Peace be to thee and to all the 
just among thy sons." 29 But for Eve there was no forgiveness. No peace 
was offered to her or her daughters. Presumably, they were left 
behind in hell. Christian theologians espoused the same theory as 
Persian patriarchs, that heaven was closed to all women except those 
who were submissive and worshipped their husbands as gods. 30 Even 


modern theologians naively blame human death on the Edenic sin. 
Rahner said, "Man's death is the demonstration of the fact that he has 
fallen away from God Death is guilt made visible." 51 Theolo- 
gians have not yet dealt with the question of what "guilt" causes death 
among non-human creatures. 

Actually, churches depend for their very existence on the orthodox 
myth of Eve. "Take the snake, the fruit-tree, and the woman from 
the tableau, and we have no fall, no frowning Judge, no Inferno, no 
everlasting punishment hence no need of a Savior. Thus the 
bottom falls out of the whole Christian theology." 32 

Equally destructive to Christian theology would be restoration of 
books arbitrarily excluded from the canon, such as the Apocalypse of 
Adam, in which Adam stated that he and Eve were created together but 
she was his superior. She brought with her "a glory which she had 
seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word 
of knowledge. . . . And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we 
were higher than the God who had created us."" 

Some of these once-sacred books made Eve superior to both Adam 
and the creator. It was she, not God, who gave Adam his soul and 
brought him to life. It was she, not God, who cast down the evil deities 
from heaven and made them demons. And she, as the eternal female 
Power, would eventually judge the God she created, find him guilty of 
injustice, and destroy him. 34 

As an allegory, this might reflect a social truth. Fragile constructs 
of the collective mind, gods are easily destroyed by those who ignore 
them. Early Gnostic documents show that most women of the ancient 
world were disposed to ignore the God who was said to have cursed 
their sex and their descendants forever. Had one of the other versions of 
the Eve myth prevailed over the canonical version, sexual behavior 
patterns in western civilization almost certainly would have evolved 
along very different lines. Christianity managed to project man's fear 
of death onto woman, not to respect her as Kali the Destroyer was 
respected, but to hate her. 

The uncanonical scriptures were no more and no less creditable 
than the canonical ones. Their picture of Eve as God's stern mother, 
he defender of mankind against a tyrannical demon-deity, had more 
adherents in the early Christian centuries than the picture that is now 
amiliar. One of Christianity's best-kept secrets was that the Mother of 
Ml Living was the Creatress who chastised God. 

1. Avalon, 120, 278. 2. Waddell, 126. 3. d'Alviella, 153. 4. Neumann, CM., 136. 5. 

Graves, G.M. 1, 27; Tennant, 1 54. 6. J.E. Harrison, 129. 

7. d'Alviella, 166-67; Lindsay, O.A., 54. 8. Enslin, C.B., 91. 9. Legge 2, 329. 

10. Pagels, 30, 52, 57-8. 11. Hooke, M.E.M., 112. 12. Campbell, Oc.M., 210. 

13.Pagels,30. 14. Tennant, 26. 15. Shah, 387. 

16.Reinach, 188; Cavendish, T., 116. 17. Brandon, 126-27. 1 8. Pagels, 30. 

19. Hooke, M.E.M., 1 10. 20. Larousse, 345. 21. Jonas, 82, 204. 

22.0chs, 121. 23. Jonas, 205. 24. Malvern, 30. 25. Ashe, 178-79. 

26. Tennant, 207, 244. 27. H. Smith, 238. 28. Bullough, 1 14. 

29. de Voragine, 223. 30. Campbell, Oc.M., 196. 3 1 . Cavendish, P.E., 28. 

32. Daly, 69. 33. Robinson, 256-57. 34. Robinson, 172-78. 




Origen (Origenes 
Adamantius) Christian 
father, ca. 185-254 
a.d., an Egyptian who 
wrote in Greek, 
exerting a powerful 
influence on the 
early Greek church. At 
first he was 
accounted a saint, but 
three centuries after 
his death he was 
declared a heretic 
because of Gnostic 
elements found in 
his writings. 


The theory of species development given to the world by Darwin and 
his successors had no special religious significance, except that Christian 
authorities viewed it as a contradiction of their all-important Eden 
myth, just as Galileo's astronomical discoveries contradicted the Bible's 
geocentric cosmos. The theory of evolution showed man could not 
have "fallen"; there was no original sin and therefore no need of 

In 1869 a German theologian, Dr. Schund, said, "If Darwin be 
right in his view of the development of man out of a brutal condition, 
then the Bible teaching in regard to man is utterly annihilated." The 
American Episcopal Church said: "If this hypothesis be true, then is 
the Bible an unbearable fiction . . . then have Christians for nearly two 
thousand years been duped by a monstrous lie. . . . Darwin requires 
us to disbelieve the authoritative word of the Creator." Another theo- 
logical heavyweight declared: "If the Darwinian theory is true, 
Genesis is a lie, the whole framework of the book of life falls to pieces, 
and the revelation of God to man, as we Christians know it, is a 
delusion and a snare." ' 

These gentlemen were right. The theory of evolution does indeed 
contradict the biblical creation myths and the dogma of the Fall. As 
the evidence in favor of evolution continued to pile up, fundamentalist 
churches desperately sought ways to ignore it, or else reconcile the 
irreconcilable. Pope Paul IV spoke on the subject of evolution in 1966: 

Such explanations do not agree with the teaching of Sacred Scripture, 
Sacred Tradition, and the Church 's magisterium, according to which 
the sin of the first man is transmitted to all his descendants not through 
imitation but through propagation. . . . The theory of evolution will not 
seem acceptable to you whenever it is not decisively in accord with the 
immediate creation of each and every human soul by God, and 
whenever it does not regard as decisively important for the fate of 
mankind the disobedience of Adam, the universal first parent. 2 

Since the theory of evolution can never be "decisively in 
accord" with the orthodox view, it can never be accepted by the 
"infallible" church. The orthodox view has remained on the 17th- 
century level of Father Mersenne who "expressed the opinion of the 
most enlightened theologians when he declared that orthodoxy did 
not fear either science or reason, and was quite prepared to accept all 
their conclusions, 'provided they agreed with the Scriptures.'" 3 

Seventeen hundred years ago, Origen wrote of the Garden of 
Eden myth: "No one would be so foolish as take this allegory as a 
description of actual fact." 4 But Origen was excommunicated, and 
countless millions have been precisely that foolish. 

1. White 1, 72, 74, 371. 2. Wickler, xxix. 3. Guignebert, 422. 4. Shirley, 170. 


Exorcism Exorcism 

The time-honored custom of ordering demons away, by verbal 

charms and magical gestures, is still practiced by ( 1 ) primitive witch naHHHi^ 

doctors, and (2) the Catholic church. Protestant churches don't 
exorcise. As far back as 1603 the Church of England forbade ministers 
to cast out devils, though a present-day Archbishop of Canterbury 
publicly confessed a belief in "genuine demonic possession" in 1974. 1 
The Roman church maintains the office of exorcist, whose rite of 
ordination states: "An Exorcist must cast out devils." 2 The Official New 
Catholic Encyclopedia says, "Today the Church maintains its tradi- 
tional attitude toward exorcism. It recognizes the possibility of diabolical 
possession, and it regulates the manner of dealing with it. 
... A solemn method of exorcising is given in the Roman Ritual." 3 

This "solemn method" is based on name magic and words of 
power, like exorcisms used by Egyptian wizards thousands of years 
ago. It says in part: "I command thee, whosoever thou art, thou unclean 
spirit, and all thy companions possessing this servant of God, that by 
the Mysteries of the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the sending of the Holy Ghost, and by 
the Coming of the same our Lord to judgment, thou tell me thy name, 
the day, and the hour of thy going out, by some sign; and, that to me, 
a minister of God, although unworthy, thou be wholly obedient in all 
things." Exorcistic power of chastity is invoked: "The continence of 
the Confessors commands thee." Inanimate objects can be exorcised in 
the same manner, as in the consecration of medals: "I exorcise ye, 
medals, through God the Father Almighty. . . . May the power of the 
adversary, all the host of the Devil, all evil attack, every spirit and 
glamour of Satan, be utterly put to flight and driven far away by the 
virtue of these medals." 4 

The history of exorcism often demonstrates legalistic-theological 
buffoonery at its silliest, as in the many instances of insect pests and 
other vermin verbally assaulted by the exorcist, though paying no 
discernible attention to the anathemas that threatened them. In 1478 
the authorities of Berne addressed a plague of crop-eating insects, "I 
declare and affirm that you are banned and exorcised, and through 
the power of Almighty God shall be called accursed and shall daily 
decrease." The insects, however, only continued to increase. In 1516 
the Provost of Troyes commanded all caterpillars to "retire within six 
days from the vineyards and lands of Villenose, threatening them 
with his solemn curse and malediction if they failed to obey." The 
caterpillars apparently weren't listening. From the 16th century 
onwards, it was a Savoyard custom to excommunicate destructive 
insects, even though they seemed not to care about being banned 
from God's congregation. In 1633 the consuls of Strambino summoned 
the caterpillars "to appear before the bench of reason to show cause 



why they should not desist from corroding and destroying, under 
penalty of banishment from the place and confiscation." In 1713 the 
Friars Minor in Piedade no Maranho, Brazil, claimed that their exor- 
cism of ants worked, and "by God's express order the ants departed to 
another place." 5 

In a process against leeches, which was tried at Lausanne in 1451, a 
number of leeches were brought into court to hear the notice served 
against them, which admonished all leeches to leave the district within 
three days. The leeches, however, proving contumacious and refusing to 
quit the country, they were solemnly exorcised. . . . The doctors of 
Heidelberg in particular, then a famous seat of learning, not only expressed 
their entire and unanimous approbation of the exorcism, but imposed 
silence on all impertinent meddlers who presumed to speak against it. 6 

When used against human beings, the process of exorcism 
proved rather more baneful than absurd, tending to exacerbate the very 
symptoms it was supposed to relieve. Justification is still being sought 
for this relic of primitive superstition, because the office exists and a 
reason must be given for it. But nowadays, "demonic possession" is 
usually treated by psychiatric therapists, not religious ones. (See 

1. Robbins, 243; Ebon, ST., 193. 2. Summers, H.W.D. 208. 3. Patai, 139. 
4. Summers, H.W.D., 212-13,216, 223. 5. Frazer, F.O.T., 408-11. 
6. Fra/.er, F.O.T., 408. 

Ayin was the "eye" 
in the Hebrew sacred 
alphabet, possibly 
derived from Aya, the 
Creatress. 5 Islamic 
Arabs diabolized her 
and corrupted her name 
into Ayin, spirit of 
the evil eye. Moslem 
Syrians called her 
Aina Bisha, the eye- 


The All-Seeing Eye of ancient Egypt once belonged to the Goddess 
of truth and judgment, Maat. 1 The Mother-syllable Maa meant "to 
see"; in hieroglyphics it was an eye. 2 

A late text transferred the All-Seeing Eye to a male god, Horus, 
and the common symbol came to be known as the Eye of Horus, also 
representing the phallus as the "One-Eyed God." Yet the same Eye 
was incongruously described as a female judge: "I am the all-seeing 
Eye of Horus, whose appearance strikes terror, Lady of Slaughter, 
Mighty One." 3 The Eye whose appearance strikes terror was the 
original prototype of the evil eye which, like the petrifying glance of 
Medusa, was usually associated with women and was feared by 
simple folk everywhere, up to the present day. 

Staring idols of the Neolithic "Eye Goddess" have been found 
throughout Mesopotamia. In Syria she was known as the Goddess 
Mari, whose huge eyes searched men's souls. 4 

Like Moslems, Christians diabolized the female spirit of the All- 
Seeing Eye. Old women were credited with the ancient Goddess's 
power to "overlook" to curse someone with a glance. Judges of the 
Inquisition so greatly feared the evil eyes of their victims that they 
forced accused witches to enter the court backward, to deprive them of 
the advantage of a first glance. 6 


Oddly enough, remedies for the evil eye were often female Eye 

symbols. Necklaces of cowrie shells, those ubiquitous yonic symbols, 

were and are valued in India as charms against the evil eye. The triangle ^^^^^^^^^^_ 
or Yoni Yantra, representing the vulva, is similarly used in India, 
Greece, and the Balkans. Northern Indian farmers protect crops from 
the evil eye by hanging Kali's symbol of a black pot in the field. In 
18th-century England, the classic witch's familiar, a black cat, was 
supposed to afford protection; and sore eyes could be cured by 
rubbing with a black cat's tail. 7 In addition there were many signs, 
gestures, and other kinds of counter-spells to be used as instant 
remedies if one suspected having been "overlooked." 

It seems men were very much averse to meeting a direct glance 
from a woman. In the most patriarchal societies, from medieval Japan 
to Europe, it was customary to insist that "proper" women keep their 
eyelids lowered in the presence of men. In 19th-century Islamic Iran, 
it was believed that every woman above the age of menopause possessed 
the evil eye. Old women were not permitted in crowds attending 
public appearances of the Shah, lest his sacred person be exposed to an 
old woman's dangerous look. 8 

Any person invested with spiritual powers, however, could be 

credited with the power to curse with a look. Several popes were 

reputed to be bearers of the evil eye ox jettatura. Pope Pius IX (d. 1878) 

was a famous jettatore. Pope Leo XIII, his successor, was said to have 

the evil eye because so many cardinals died during his reign. 9 

I. Budge, G.E. 1, 392. 2. Budge, E.L., 55. 3. Cavendish, RE., 167. 
4. Neumann, CM., 11 1-12, pi. 87. 5. Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 133-34. 
6. Lea unabridged, 831. 7. Gifford, 79-81. 8. Gifford, 47. 9. Budge, A.T., 365. 


Feet of a Chinese 
woman, disfigured by 
custom of breaking 
the bones and binding 
the feet was a lifelong 
process for many 
aristocratic women. 
The "dainty" result was 
the much-admired 
"lotus hook" instead of a 
foot. The practice 
continued up to the 
beginning of the 20th 

Arm and hand with 
extended index 
finger. This "mother" 
finger was the most 
magical it guided, 
beckoned, blessed 
and cursed. Etruscan 


The Irish called the 
fairies' land Tir-nan-og, 
Land of Ever- 
Youthful Ones; or 
Tir-nam-beo, Land 
of the Ever-Living; or 
Tir-Tairngiri, Land 
of Promise; or Tir-na- 
Sorcha, Land of 
Light; or Mag Mell, 
Plain of Pleasures; or 
Mag Mon, Plain of 
Sports; or I-Bresail, I- 
Brazil, or Hy-Brasil, the 
Land of Bresal, 
which gave rise to the 
name of Brazil. 7 
Fairyland was also the 
magic "apple-land" 
of Avalon, or the 
Fortunate Isles, or 
Elf-land, Elphame, 
Alfheim, or 

Elvenhome. Sometimes 
it was the "never- 
never" land, perhaps 
after an Egyptian 
word for paradise, 
nefemefer, "doubly 
beautiful." The Faroe 
Islands were once 
"fairyland" (medieval 
Norse Faeroisland) 
because the original 
explorers reached 
them by sailing west 
and believed them to 
be the islands of the 
dead. 8 


Pagan gods and goddesses, tribal ancestors, and those who wor- 
shipped them all became "fairies" in the traditions of France, Germany, 
and the British Isles. The Irish still say fairies live in the pagan sidh 
(burial mounds and barrow graves), several hundred of which still stand 
in the Irish countryside. 1 The Welsh knew their ancestors had a 
matriarchal society. Like the Irish, they called fairies The Mothers, or 
The Mother's Blessing; and fairyland was always the Land of 
Women. 2 

Fairies came out of their fairy hills at Halloween, Celtic folk said, 
because the hills themselves were tomb-wombs of rebirth according 
to the ancient belief, and Halloween was only a new name for Samhain, 
when the dead returned to earth with the help of the priestesses 
who, under Christianity, were newly described as witches. 3 Respect for 
the pagan dead endured to a remarkably late date, even among 
Christians whose church taught them that the old deities were devils. 
Cornish miners refused to make the sign of the cross when down in a 
mine, for fear of offending the fairies in their own subterranean territory 
by making a gesture that invoked their enemy. 4 

In the Book of the Dun Cow, the fairy queen described her realm 
as "the land of the ever-living, a place where there is neither death, 
nor sin, nor transgression. We have continual feasts: we practice every 
benevolent work without contention. We dwell in a large Shee 
(sidh); and hence we are called the people of the Fairy-Mound." 5 

The pagan after-world was a golden "dream time" of long ago, 
when heroes were deified by sacred marriage with the Goddess. The 
Great God Lug, father of Ireland's dying savior Cu Chulainn, came 
"out of the chambered undergrounds of Tara where dwell the fourth 
race of gods who settled Ireland. They are the glorious and golden 
giants, Tuatha De Danann. These people of the goddess Dana first 
used gold and silver in an Age of Bronze. They first cleared the land, 
first drained the swamps. They built the great temples of stone like 
the one they sent to Britain Stonehenge. When conquered, they 
retired to their underground barrows or Sidhe where they still live 
today." 6 

Fairy mounds were entrances to the pagan paradise, which might 
be located underground, or under water, or under hills on distant 
islands across the western sea where the sun died. 

The fairy queen was obviously the ancient fertility-mother, like 
Demeter or Ceres. William of Auvergne said in the 1 3th century she 
was called Abundia, or Dame Abonde: "Abundance." 9 She was also 
called Diana, Venus, Hecate, Sybil, or Titania a title of Cretan 
Rhea as ruler of the earth-spirits called Titans, predecessors of the 
Olympian gods. (See Titania.) She had all three personae of the 
Triple Goddess, including the death-dealing Crone which is why an 
Irish title Bean-Sidhe, "Woman of the Fairy-Mounds," was corrupt- 
ed into banshee, the shrieking demoness whose voice brought death. In 


the form of the triple Morrigan, she sang of blood sacrifices related to 
springtime renewal of vegetation. 10 A variation on her title was the 
notorious Morgan le Fay or Morgan the Fairy, also known as the 
death-goddess, "Morgue la faye." n 

The Romance of Lancelot du Lac spoke of the fairy queen in 
another incarnation as Lady of the Lake: "The damsel who carried 
Lancelot to the lake was a fay, and in those times all those women were 
called fays who had to do with enchantments and charms and there 
were many of them then, principally in Great Britain and knew the 
power and virtues of words, of stones, and of herbs." Their knights 
were forbidden to speak their names, for fear of betraying them to 
Christian persecutors. 12 

Secrecy attended many aspects of the fairy-religion, for the very 
reason that it was carried on clandestinely under a dominant religious 
system that threatened its practitioners with torture and death. One of 
the charges that sent Joan of Arc to the stake was that she "adored the 
Fairies and did them reverence." n 

A legend repeated by the gypsies said if a man found the statue of a 
naked fate (fairy) in the ruins of pagan temples or tombs, he should 
embrace it with love and eject semen on it. Then, like Pygmalion's 
Galatea, the fate would come to life in his dreams and tell her lover 
where to find buried treasure, and she would become his "fortune." He 
would be happy with her forevermore, provided he agreed never to 
set foot in a Christian church again as long as he lived. 14 

This idea of the fairy-fortune might be traced all the way back to 
ancient customs of matrilineal inheritance and matrilocal marriage, 
characteristic both of Bronze Age myths and of fairy tales. The fairy-tale 
hero rarely brought a bride to his own home; instead, he left home to 
seek his "fortune," which usually turned out to be a foreign princess 
won by trial and wedded in her own country, which the hero 
afterward helped rule. As in the pre-patriarchal system, a woman was 
:he "fortune" or "fate" of the young man, words which also meant 
'fairy," through such intermediates as Fata, Fay, Le Fee, or the "fey" 
:>ne. Fairy and Fate were further related through fear and fair: 
nedieval Latin fatare, "to enchant," became French faerox feer. 15 

Many believed fairies lived in the deep woods where their sacred 
jroves had been hidden from priestly interference. Romanians still 
.peak of the Fata Padourii, Girl of the Woods, a fairy similar to the Irish 
)anshee. At night she makes eerie sounds that portend death to the 
| learer. 16 In Brittany, where there were many groves dedicated to the 
VIoon-goddess throughout the middle ages, fairies were sometimes 
called man-devent, "Moon-goddesses." 17 

It seems the fairy-religion was practiced secretly through most of 
he Christian era, especially by women, whose Goddess the patriar- 
chal church kept trying to take away, giving them no substitute but 
Mary, who lacked the old Goddess's powers. 

Certain French leaders of the Old Religion were described as 


Book of the Dun 
Cow (Lebar-na-Heera), 
so called because the 
original manuscript was 
written on vellum 
made from the skin of a 
prized cow: a 
collection of 11th- 
century Irish tales 
and poems, compiled by 
Mailmuri Mac 



Tasso's list of Fairy- 
ladies showed them 
from either Goddesses 
or witches, for they 
had names of both, 
including the titles of 
Fata, Maga, 
Incantatrice, or wise- 
woman. They were 
Oriana, She of the 
Mountain; Silvana or 
Silvanella, She of the 
Wood; Filidea, She 
Who Loves the 
Goddess; Mirinda, the 
Warrior Woman; 
Argea, called Queen of 
Fate; Lucina, called 
the Lady of the Lake; 
Urganda, called the 
Wise One; two Fates or 
Fays named 
Dragontina and 
Montana, and 
Morgana with her three 
"daughters," the 
Morrigan. 21 

Torquato Tasso 

(1554-1595) Italian poet 
and dramatist, whose 
checkered career 
included periods of 
residence in courts, 
convents, and 
prisons. His major work 
was an epic on the 
conquest of Jerusalem. 

Aucassin and 
Nicolette French 
medieval romance 
based on an Arabian 
love story. Aucassin 's 
original name was Al- 

"great princesses who, having refused to embrace Christianity . . . 
were struck by the curse of God. Hence it is that they are said to be ani- 
mated by a violent hatred of [Christian] religion and of the clergy." 
Sometimes they were called Korrigen, Korrig, or Korr, perhaps devotees 
of the Virgin Kore. A Breton lay said: "There are nine Korrigen, 
who dance, with flowers in their hair, and robes of white wool, around 
the fountain, by the light of the full moon." They seem to have been 
old women who used masks or makeup: "Seen at night, or in the dusk 
of the evening, their beauty is great; but in the daylight their eyes 
appear red, their hair white, and their faces wrinkled; hence they rarely 
let themselves be seen by day." 18 

As late as the 17th century it was said there were shrines kept by "a 
thousand old women" who taught the rites of Venus to young 
maidens, and instructed them in fairy feats like shape-shifting and raising 
storms. 19 They were known as fatuae or fatidicae, "seeresses," or 
sometimes bonnes HUes, "good girls." 20 

Norwegian, Scottish, and Irish Christians claimed the fairies were 
offspring of the fallen angels. Like the non-fallen angels, they carried 
off souls of the dead. Any who happened to die at twilight, the fairies' 
hour between day and night, would find themselves in fairyland 
between life and death, or between heaven and hell. 22 Such legends 
reflect ancient views of the after-world as without either punishment 
or reward but only a way-station in the karmic cycle, which is why fairies 
were like the un-dead able to emerge from their tombs at will. As 
psychopomps, they were the same as Valkyries or Hindu apsaras, the 
heavenly nymphs who became penis, "fairies," in Middle-Eastern 
countries where the Old Religion was also maintained as a sub-current 
in patriarchal culture. 

Certainly one of the strongest attractions of the fairy-religion was 
its permissive view of sexuality, typical of ancient matriarchal societ- 
ies, living on in contrast to the harsh anti-sexual attitudes of orthodoxy. 
Fairyland was the heaven of sexy angels, as opposed to the Christian 
heaven where "bliss" was specifically not sexual, not even in matrimony 
(Matthew 22:30). The fairyland called Torelore in the romance of 
Aucassin and Nicolette was a home for lovers, as opposed to the 
Christian heaven of "old priests, and halt old men and maimed." The 
fairy king lay in bed pretending to give birth to a child, in the ancient rite 
of couvade (see Fatherhood); the queen led an army against their 
enemies in a bloodless battle, the combatants pelting each other with 
symbolic foods such as apples, eggs, and cheeses. The king said, "it is 
nowise our custom to slay each other." 23 (See Paradise.) 

Toward this paradise the Fairy Queen led her lovers on a "broad, 
broad road across the lily lea," as Thomas Rhymer's ballad said, 
which some called the road to heaven, and others the road to hell: a 
prototype of the famous Primrose Path. The Queen herself was 
addressed as Queen of Heaven. 24 Sometimes her earthly angels were 
more spirit than mortal, like the fairies called Little Wood Women 


\{wudu-maer) in Bavaria, to whom dumplings and other foodstuffs were 
offered. 25 Yet most sources admitted that the fairies were real live 
[women. Prior wrote, "In Danish ballads fairies are full grown women 
iand not the diminutive beings of our English tales." Said Andrew 
Lang, "There seems little in the characteristics of these fairies of 
jromance to distinguish them from human beings, except their super- 
natural knowledge and power. They are . . . usually of ordinary stature, 
iindeed not to be recognized as varying from mankind except by their 
[proceedings." 26 In other words, they were women practicing heathen 

1. MacCana, 65. 2. MacCana, 123; Rees, 41. 3. Joyce 1, 264-65. 
4. Cavendish, P.E., 242. 5. Joyce 1, 494. 6. Goodrich, 195. 7. Joyce 1 293 
8. Ramsay, 57. 9. Keightley, 475. 10. Goodrich, 177, 192. 1 1 . Keightley 45 
12.Keightley,31,421. 13. Coulton, 252. 14. Leland, 206. 15. Keightley 6-7 
16. Cavendish, P.E., 242. 17. Keightley, 427. 1 8. Keightley, 422 431-32' 
19. Wedeck, 157. 20. Pepper & Wilcock, 166. 21. Keightley, 453-54. 
22. Cavendish, RE., 241. 23. Loomis, 251, 276. 24. Wimberly 407 413 
25. Frazer, F.O.T., 312. 26. Wimberly, 170-71. 

Faith, Saint 
Fata Morgana 

Faith, Saint 

Bpurious "virgin martyr," one of the three sisters Saints Faith, Hope, 
bnd Charity, daughters of the equally spurious virgin-mother martyr St. 
Sophia. As one personification of these three Virtues, St. Faith really 
briginated as one of the oldest of pagan Goddesses. Her Roman name 
Lvas Bona Fides, "Good Faith." She was invoked in all legal con- 
tacts. Plutarch said her temple was built by the first king of Latium. 
f/irgil said "hoary Faith and Vesta" were Rome's oldest lawgiving 
Goddesses. 1 Bona Fides did have one of Rome's oldest temples, served 
>y three senior Flamines, the core of the ancient Roman clergy. 2 

In her Christianized form, Faith received a crypt in St. Paul's 
athedral in London. Letting their imaginations soar, martyrologists 
aved over her famous physical beauty. 5 Perhaps because of this, she 
came a popular patroness of romance. English girls used to pray for 
vision of their future husbands, addressing St. Faith after passing a 
)iece of bread three times through a wedding ring. 4 

l.Dumezil, 165,202,258. 2. Rose, 250. 3. Brewster, 440. 
4. Hazlitt, 373. 

R.C. Alexander 
Prior Author of a three- 
volume work on 
Ancient Danish Ballads, 

Andrew Lang 

(1844-1912) Scottish 

anthropologist, and 
collector of fairy 
tales. He also authored 
a four-volume 
History of Scotland and 
a History of English 

ata Morgana 

Medieval term for mirages, illusions, or witch-lights over swamps: 
magic" created by the Goddess Morgan, evolved from the primitive 
dagog and sharing many characteristics with the Hindu Maya, 
reator of "magic." Morgan-the-Fate was often said to be still living in 
wamps and seacoasts, where she led travelers astray with her illu- 
ions. See Maya; Morgan. 


Fata Scribunda Fata Scribunda 


"The Fate Who Writes," Roman title of the Goddess who inscribed 
each infant's future destiny in her Book of Life shortly after birth. 1 
Writing was an attribute of women or Goddesses in the oldest 



Nearly all mythologies bear traces of the Triple Goddess as three 
Fates, rulers of the past, present, and future in the usual personae of 
Virgin, Mother, and Crone (or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer). The 
female trinity assumed many different guises in western religion: the 
Norns or Weird Sisters of the north (from wyrdf "fate"), the Zorya of 
the Slavs, the Morrigan of the Irish, the triple Guinevere or triple Brigi 
of the Britons. 

In Greek myth the three Fates were Horae, Graeae, Muses, 
Gorgons, Furies, and other trinities as well as the principal trinity of 
Moerae or Fates. Nearly always, they were weavers. In Anglo-Saxon 
literature, fate is "woven." Latin destino (destiny) means that which 
is woven, or fixed with cords and threads; fate is "bound" to happen, 
just as the spells of fairy-women were "binding." ' 

The Moerae were Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Measurer, 
and Atropos the Cutter of life's thread. All were aspects of the archaic 
Triple Aphrodite, of whom it was said her real name was Moera, and 
she was older than Time. 2 Moera was actually a late name for the 
Fate-goddess. In the Mycenaean period it meant a landholding, pos- 
sessed by a female property owner according to the old matriarchal 
system. Hence, Moera was a lot: later, "allotted Fate." 3 

Aphrodite's trinity was sometimes divided into three Horae, or 
celestial nymphs: Eunomia, Dike, and Irene, meaning Order, Desti- 
ny, and Peace. These referred to the "ordering" of elements to form tr 
individual; the destiny established for him by the Mother; and the 
"peace" of dissolution as decreed at the end of life by Aphrodite 
Columba, the Dove of Peace. 4 

If the weaving Fates could be induced not to cut the thread of life 
at a perilous moment, the individual would be spared; if not, he 
would die. Magic charms were often based on this notion. A Slavic 
charm for healing wounds was addressed to the Fate-weaver on the 
mystic isle of Bujan, or Buyan, the Goddess's paradise: "In the Ocean- 
sea, on the isle of Buyan, a fair maiden was weaving silk; she did not 
leave off weaving silk; the blood ceased flowing." 5 According to RussU 
myth, this maiden was the Virgin of Dawn, equivalent to the Latin 
Mater Matuta, or the Greek Eos, traditionally the first Fate. The sun 
god went to rest on her magic isle, and rose again from it each day. 6 

Other Greek names for the Fate-goddess were Tyche, Dike, and 


Nemesis. Romans called her Fortuna; a trinity or a monad. A 
terracotta medallion from Vienne showed her as a tutelary city-goddess, 
wearing a mural crown, enthroned in a laurel wreath. 7 As the 
Babylonian "Mother of Destiny," Fate was named Mammetun, the 
Creatress. 8 All were based on the primordial Indo-European Mother 
of Karma, i.e., Kali Ma. 

"Fate" was synonymous with "fairy" in the Middle Ages. Alphon- 
sus de Spina placed "Fates" first on his list of devils, remarking: 
"Some say they have seen Fates, but if so they are not women but 
demons." 9 Burchardus of Worms complained that the people hon- 
ored the Fates or Weird Sisters at the beginning of every year, putting 
offerings of food and drink on a table for them, with three knives for 
cutting their meat presumably so the death-dealing Cutter wouldn't 
be tempted to use her own knife. 10 

Greeks still say the Fates visit the cradle of every newborn, to 
determine the child's future as his fairy godmothers. Parents used to 
chain up the watchdog, leave the door open, and set out dainty foods to 
put the Moerae in a good humor. 11 Many fairy tales give stern lessons 
in the folly of offending fairy godmothers. Gypsies still say "three ladies 
in white" stand at the cradle of each child, and take back the soul 
when life has run its course, like the Three Queens of Arthurian legend. 
Greek laments for the dead are still called moirologhia, giving the 
deceased back to the Moerae. 12 

I. Cavendish, P.E., 75. 2. Bachofen, 57. 3. Lindsay, A. W., 32. 

4. Urousse, 138. 5. Wedeck, 50. 6. d'Alviella, 168. 7. Lindsay, O.A., 379. 
8. EpicofGilgnmesh, 107. 9. Robbins, 127. 10. Miles, 181. 

II. Briffault 3, 160. 12. Rose, 40. 



Myths show that, once men understood they could beget children, 
they wanted many children, because that was the best and easiest way to 
become a god. Ancestral mothers had been deified by their descen- 
dants for countless generations. Patriarchs craved similar nations of 
descendants, for a tribal ancestor achieved great glory in the after- 
world. Men transferred their allegiance from the Great Mother, the 
original deified ancestress, to gods like Yahweh, on the basis of his 
promises: "I will make of these a great nation, and I will bless thee, and 

make thy name great I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I 

will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee" (Genesis 
12, 17). 

Persians said a man who died childless couldn't enter paradise at 
all. Prayers and sacrifices of descendants were essential to blessedness 
for the paternal soul. Hindus defined a son as one whose incantations 
and offerings kept a father's spirit from wandering homeless and 
hungry in the waste spaces of eternity. The Brhaddarma Purana said, 
"No rituals are performed for the man who has no descendants 

Puranas are ancient 
Sanskrit scriptures in 
verse, treating of cos- 
mologies, sacred 
histories, and the na- 
ture of the divine. 


Fatherhood Sons are useful to give oblations to the ancestors." ' The Chinese 

thought if a man had no son, he cut the continuous line of paternal 

^ h^mm ancestor-worship and lost his chance of becoming immortal. 2 

Fatherhood was largely a ceremonial relationship, with little recog- 
nition that men might take an active part in raising their own 
children. The classical Latin term paterfamilias, now connoting a father- 
of-a-family and household ruler, didn't convey anything like that to 
the Romans who invented the term: 

When the ancients invoked Jupiter under that title of pater of gods and 
men, they did not mean that he was their physical father, for they never 
supposed he was, but on the contrary believed that the human race had 
existed before he did. The same title was given to Neptune, Apollo, 
Bacchus, Vulcan and Pluto, whom men certainly did not suppose to be 
their fathers. . . . Similarly, in legal language, the title o/paterfamilias 
could be given to a man who had no children, was not married, was not 
even old enough to enter upon a marriage . . . ; pater, the Latin word 
cognate to "father" and closest akin to it in meaning, signifies not so much 
him who has begotten a younger person as him who has natural 
authority over one inferior in age or status. J 

Men or gods began to claim physical fatherhood not so much by 
an act of begetting, as by a different, ceremonial act designed to imitate 
the motherly act of birth-giving. (See Birth-giving, Male.) In earliest 
times the imitation was quite literal, like the rite of couvade practiced by 
primitives to establish paternal rights to a child. While the mother 
gave birth, the father took to his bed moaning and groaning, and 
pretended to bring forth the child. Couvade was an initiation ritual 
for priests of Aphrodite Ariadne at Amathus, where a man dressed in 
female clothing went through a pantomime of childbirth, to earn the 
priestly title of "father." 4 

Christian writers said their religion was sent to convert Europe to a 
patriarchal system in which men could demand respect from their 
offspring. Before Christianity came to Britain, there was a "great sin" in 
the structure of the clans: "the father loved not the son, nor the son 
loved not the father." 5 Early missionaries complained that British tribes 
paid no attention to the matter of who begot whom; women took 
lovers as they pleased, and "marital vows are never observed." St. Boni- 
face said the English "utterly despise legitimate matrimony," mean- 
ing the kind of matrimony that gave husbands control of property and 
children. 6 

Eventually, Christianity changed the pagans' casual attitude 
toward fatherhood. St. Thomas Aquinas laid down the church's 
official opinion that a father is the true parent, a mother only the "soil" 
in which the father's "seed" grows. He said a father should be more 
loved than a mother, because the father's part in giving life to the child 
is "active," whereas the mother's part is only "passive." 7 

Emphasis on paternity was characteristic of patriarchal societies, 
where men often tried to pretend that begetting a child was more 


important than the mother's multi-faceted task of carrying, delivering, 
nursing, and teaching it all the basic skills of living. In matriarchal 
Arabia, biological paternity meant nothing. After the coming of Islam, 
men considered paternity so important that they instituted a year's 
waiting period between a woman's divorce or widowhood and her 
remarriage, to make absolutely sure she was not pregnant by the 
previous husband, since no man wanted his wife giving birth to another 
man's child. 8 The same waiting period was demanded in Christian 
Europe, and became so taken for granted that it became "indecent" for 
a woman to remarry too soon after an earlier husband's departure or 

One reason for the restrictive, authoritarian atmosphere of patriar- 
chal societies seems to have been that men didn't readily see their 
children as separate persons, but viewed them as extensions of the 
father's own ego, therefore requiring strict discipline to make them 
conform to the pattern. Zimmer says in the language of symbols, son 
means "double," "alter ego," "living copy of the father," "the 
father's essence in another individualization." 9 Thus the father's inter- 
est in children was more selfish than the mother's. 

Harriet Stanton Blatch wrote, "Men talk of the sacredness of 
motherhood, but judging from their acts it is the last thing that is held 
sacred. . . . The sense of obligation to offspring, men possess but feebly; 
there has not been developed by animal evolution an instinct of 
paternity. They are not disinherited fathers; they are simply unevolved 
parents. Those who could improve humanity have been hindered by 
those who prefer to improve steam engines. . . . The sex which has been 
laboriously evolved by nature for the arduous work of race-building is 
handicapped." Western patriarchy developed a culture of acquisitive- 
ness, aggression, and hierarchy for the very reason that its underlying 
philosophy was masculine-selfish, according to Neumann: "This situa- 
tion of the patriarchate known to us particularly from its Western 
[development is characterized by a recession of feminine psychology 
and its dominants; now feminine existence is almost entirely deter- 
I mined by the masculine world of consciousness and its values." 10 

The masculine world of consciousness has been characterized as 
"barren" and "destructive," insofar as "the fantasies of the single man 
pervade our popular culture." n These focus on self-centered greed, 
aggression, or defensiveness on behalf of the self, with little compre- 
hension of love, dependence, or responsibility toward future 
generations. Behavior patterns of the masculine world remind one 
that the earliest Chinese ideograph for "male" was also a synonym for 
"selfish." 12 

This culture passes harsh judgment on women who are labeled 
unfit mothers, because males however "dominant" identify with the 
child, not the mother. Standards for fathers are not so high. Drunkards, 
adulterers, child-beaters, even criminals are supposed to have a 
"right" to fatherhood, to say nothing of millions of men who treat their 


Harriet Stanton 
Blatch 20th-century 
American feminist, 
daughter of Elizabeth 
Cady Stanton. 


Fatima children with a neglectful indifference that would bring down soci- 

Febronia, Saint e ty's wrath on a female parent. Possibly men should be taught to regard 

^^mhmhmhhh fatherhood as a privilege to be earned, not as a right to be abused. 

1. O'Flaherty, 263. 2. Bullough, 247. 3. Rose, 170. 4. Briffault 2, 534. 

5. Malory 2, 179. 6. Briffault 3, 418-19. 7. Tuchman, 214. 8. de Riencourt, 189. 

9. Zimmer, 109. 10. Neumann, A.P., 87. 1 1. Gilder, 156. 12. Thorsten, 262. 


The Arabian Moon-goddess in a Mohammedanized incarnation as 
Mohammed's fictitious "daughter," who was nevertheless described as 
"Mother of her father." Her name means The Creatress. She was 
also known as Source of the Sun, Tree of Paradise, the Moon, and 
Fate. She existed from the beginning of the material world. 1 In brief, 
she was really none other than the Great Goddess. Like the virgin 
Mary, her western counterpart, Fatima was officially demoted to 
mortality but still kept most of her old titles and powers. 2 See Arabia. 
1. Campbell, Oc.M., 445-46. 2. Lederer, 181. 


The Goddess Diana as Mother of Wild Creatures. She had a satyr- 
consort, Faunus, corresponding to the androgynous Dianus who 
merged with Diana. The name of Fauna came to mean "animals" 
because Many-Breasted Diana was supposed to give birth to all animals 
and nourish them with her numerous breasts, as shown on her 
famous statue at Ephesus. 1 Another name for Fauna was Bona Dea, the 
"Good Goddess." 2 

1. Neumann, G.M., pi. 35. 2. Larousse, 208. 

Febronia, Saint 

Mythical martyr credited with the same story as all other mythical 
female martyrs: rather than impair her virginal purity by marrying a 
young nobleman who was in love with her, she steadfastly withstood 
incredible tortures and mutilations in order to die virgo intacta. Also like 
other female martyrs, she was actually a pseudo-canonization of the 
lascivious Great Goddess, purified for Christian consumption. The 
original Febronia was Juno Februata, patroness of the passion of love 
(febris), and honored by orgiastic rites in February (see Valentine). 

Her legend said she was martyred during the reign of Diocletian, 
but no one ever heard of her until four centuries later when she 
began to appear in Christian martyrologies. 1 

l.Attwater, 127. 


Felix, Saint Mix, Saint 

|A saint with a strange, muddled legend requiring considerable inter- R 8 

Jxetation. St. Felix in Pincus or, as he was sometimes called, St. Felix ^MiMiMn 

lof Nola was said to be a schoolmaster, so cruel that his pupils 

(cordially hated him. When it was discovered that he was a Christian, 

pagan authorities turned him over to the schoolboys who had suffered 

pt his hands; and they vindictively stabbed him to death with their 

styluses. 1 

Another St. Felix was credited like Lucifer with the Power of the 
Kir. He blew on the faces of the idols of Mercury, Diana, and 
Kerapis, and they instantly collapsed. Destruction by the power of the 
breath was also widely attributed to witches. 2 

1. de Voragine, 92. 2. de Voragine, 514; Lea unabridged, 815. 


foVolf of the North, a Scandinavian version of the Cynics' north-pole 
pog, who would be loosed at doomsday to swallow the sun. The first 
month after the winter solstice was named for the Wolf, indicating 
that Fenrir may have been originally a She- Wolf like the Etruscan 
Lupa, thought to swallow the old sun and give birth to its reincarna- 
tion each year. 1 

1. Brewster, 50. 


Roman name for the Wolf-mother worshipped by the Sabines before 
the foundation of Rome itself. Her consort was the old woodland god 
Soranus, cyclically incarnate in the underground Lord of Death, and 
:he risen sun in heaven. The Feronia festival in honor of the Wolf- 
mother was faithfully kept each year in Rome. The rites were in the 
charge of a certain very ancient clan, members of which performed 
specific miraculous feats passed on from one generation to the next, 
such as walking on burning coals with bare feet. 1 

1 . Larousse, 2 1 0. 


e Gospels say Jesus cursed the fig tree and made it forever barren 
>ecause it refused to produce fruit for him out of its season (Mark 
1 1:13-22). The story probably was intended to express hostility to a 
veil-known Goddess-symbol. The fig was always female, its heart- 
shaped leaves representing "the conventional form of the yoni." 1 




A treatise on 
oneiromancy (dream 
interpretation) by 
Pierre Mora, 
manuscript #2790 in 
the Bibliotheque de 

Romans used to celebrate "a rude and curious rite" in connection with 
the fertilization of Juno Caprotina, Goddess of the Fig Tree, by her 
lecherous horned goat god. 2 

Jesus's rival deity Mithra, whom some called the true Messiah, 
also was involved with the maternal fig tree. Shortly after his birth 
from the petra genetrix, and his discovery by adoring shepherds, Mithra 
was adopted by the fig tree, which provided him with a continuous 
supply of food (fruit) and clothing (leaves). 3 According to the Book of 
Genesis, fig leaves were the world's first clothing, donned by Adam 
and Eve as soon as they acquired knowledge. Adoption by a fig tree also 
figured prominently in the legend of Buddha, protected by the Bodhi 
Tree, or Tree of Wisdom, Ecus religiosa, the Holy Fig, when he 
received his enlightenment on Full Moon Day in the month of 
May. 4 

The fig was a common Indo-Iranian symbol of the Great Mother. 
Babylonian Ishtar also took the form of the divine fig tree Xikum, the 
"primeval mother at the central place of the earth," protectress of the 
savior Tammuz. 5 Patriachal writers of the Koran later turned Ishtar's 
tree to Zakkum, the Tree of Hell, growing downward from the earth's 
underside. 6 

Gaulish gods called Dusii were described in medieval Latin as 
ficarii, "fig-eaters," which meant the same as the Homeric "lotus- 
eaters," in view of the fact that both the fig and the lotus symbolized 
female genitals. 7 Anglo-Saxon "fuck" may have been derived from 
Reus, "fig." To this day, Italians make the mano in fica, "fig-hand," as a 
derogatory sexual sign implying, like the raised middle finger, "fuck 
you." The mano in fica was of Oriental origin, a lingam-yoni formed by 
the thumb projecting between two fingers. Hindus called the fig- 
hand a sacred mudra, and Ovid said Roman householders used it as a 
protection against evil spells. 8 To Christians however, it was manus 
obscenus, "the obscene hand." 9 

Like other genital symbols, the fig was often incorporated into love 
charms together with many other items formerly sacred to Venus. 
Some of these items blood, bread, doves, and pentacles joined the 
fig in a charm from the Zekerboni, to make bachelors see their future 
brides in a dream: 

They must have powdered coral and some fine powdered lodestone, 
which they shall mix together and dilute with the blood of a white 
pigeon, and they shall make a dough of it, which they shall enclose in a 
large fig after having wrapped it in blue taffeta; they shall hang this 
round their neck, and when they go to bed shall put the pentacle for 
Saturday under their bolster, saying a special prayer the while. w 

1. King, 28. 2. Rose, 217. 3. Hooke, S.P., 85. 4. Ross, 88; Wilkins,45. 
5. Harding, 48. 6. Campbell, Oc.M., 430. 7. Knight, D.W.R, 153. 
8. Dumezil, 367. 9. Gifford, 90. lO.deGivry, 325. 



mgers Fingers 

The Dactyls "Fingers" were spirits born from the fingerprints of 

the Goddess Rhea: five males from the print of her right hand, five mhmh^m^mmmb 

Females from the print of her left hand. 1 Their Greek name was 

ierived from Sanskrit Daksa, "dextrous one," a Hindu god of the hand. 

Mano pantea, the Hand of the All-Goddess, was a sacred fetish of 
which many examples have been found in the ruins of Pompeii and 
Herculaneum. 2 It always showed the thumb and first two fingers raised, 
the last two fingers folded down. Middle finger, index finger, and 
thumb invoked pagan trinities of Father-Mother-Son, such as Jupiter- 
[uno-Mars, or Osiris-Isis-Horus. The same kind of trinity, consisting 
jf God, Mary, and Jesus, used to be worshipped by eastern Christians 
which may explain why Christianity adopted the mano pantea and 
renamed it "the hand of blessing." 3 The gesture was displayed by 

hristian priests and by emperors or kings by way of benediction and 
expression of their own union with the land. 4 

The thumb was the child, or child-soul symbolized in such fables 
is Hop-O-My-Thumb. The index finger was the Mother, the one 
who pointed, controlled, cast spells. The middle finger was the Father, a 
phallic symbol for thousands of years, up to and including the present 

Arabs used to cut open a vein of the middle finger with a stone 
cnife when making a pledge of faith, invoking a curse of castration if 
:he pledge be broken. 5 Roman male prostitutes used to signal potential 
:ustomers by thrusting the middle finger into the hair of their heads. 6 
Like all widely recognized phallic symbols, the middle finger was 
associated with the devil by Christian authorities, who referred to it as 
digitus infamis, "the vile finger." When the torturers asked accused 
bitches which finger they raised to take the devil's oath, the only 
'right" answer they would accept was the middle finger. 7 It was 
:onsidered evil to wear a ring on the middle finger, for reasons plainly 
associated with its sexual meanings. 8 

Oddly enough, the classic finger-sign of the devil didn't use the 
niddle finger at all, but displayed his "horned head" by pinning 
down the middle and fourth fingers with the thumb and extending the 
ndex and little fingers. On the well-known magic principle that an 
svil sign was prophylactic against evil, this gesture was often used in 
Italy and the Balkans as a defense against the evil eye. Like most 
European symbols, it seems to have originated with Kali Ma, who 
jhowed it as a mudra (sacred gesture) in her manifestation as 
[agadamba, "Mother of the World." 9 Probably it was meant to signify 
tier own horned head embodied in the sacred cow. 

The most revered mudra was the one meaning "infinity" or 
'perfection," and most generally associated with female genitalia: 
thumb and forefinger pressed together at the tips, the other three fingers 


Firmament extended our modern OK sign. 10 Tantric yogis and bodhisattvas 

made this gesture in token of contemplative ecstasy. 11 Persian sacred 

^^^^^^^ amulets of the Sassanian period (3rd century B.C.) showed a hand in 

this position, flanked by horns of fertility. 12 The joined thumb and index 
finger formed a vesica piscis, immemorial symbol of the yoni, while 
the three extended fingers perhaps referred to the Goddess's trinity. 
Western Europe inherited the Egyptian idea that the index and 
middle fingers stood for the mother and father, respectively. Egyptian 
mummies were buried with a protective amulet invoking both parents, 
called the Amulet of the Two Fingers. 15 The index or "mother" 
finger was the most magical. This was the finger that guided, showed, 
beckoned, called for attention, blessed, and cursed. 

Medieval Christians feared the pointing of a witch's index finger, 
which is why children are still taught that it's rude to point, and why a 
woman's characteristic scolding gesture brandishes the index finger like 
a weapon. In Tantric tradition, this mother-finger was known as "the 
threatening finger." 14 All Indo-European traditions knew it was female. 
Arabs said the index finger represents the Goddess Fatima, whose 
symbolic Hand is still revered as a mystic summary of "the whole 
religion of Islam." 15 

Jewish patriarchs insisted on fettering a woman's threatening, spell- 
casting right index finger with the wedding ring, and orthodox Jewish 
women wear a wedding ring on that finger to this day. Christians, 
however, copied their wedding-ring custom from the pagans, who 
said a mystic "love vein" ran directly from the fourth finger of the left 
hand to the heart, therefore this finger should be bound in marriage. 
Macrobius wrote that a woman's wedding ring should be placed on that 
finger "to prevent the sentiments of the heart from escaping." 16 

There was a universal prejudice against cutting fingernails without 
careful disposal, lest fingernail pairings be used in malignant spells 
against their former owner. Norse myth said the doomsday ship Naglfar 
was made of dead men's fingernails, so "if a man dies with his nails 
unshorn he is adding greatly to the materials for Naglfar" and bringing 
doomsday that much closer. 17 Hence the custom of manicuring 

1. Graves, G.M. 1, 185. 2. Gifford, 92. 3. Ashe, 206. 4. Strong, 90. 

5. Johnson, 1 19. 6. G.R. Scott, 108. 7. Robbins, 106. 8. Budge, A.T., 304. 

9. Rawson, A.T., 50. 10. Legman, 526. 11. Larousse, 365. 12. Budge, AT., 126. 

13. Budge, E.M., 55. 14. Mahanirvanatantra, 29. 1 5. Budge, A.T., 304. 

16. de Lys, 287-88. 17. Branston, 278. 


The Hebrew word for firmament meant "a sheet of hammered 
metal." Sometimes this was called "the heaven of brass." The Bible 
gives the ancient notion that the heaven was the bottom of a vast 


pistern, holding "the waters which were above the firmament" (Gene- Firstborn 

is 1:7) i.e., rain. 

According to this primitive notion, the rain fell down when angels ^^m^^m^mi^^ 
ppened the "windows of heaven" to let some of the water out of the 
enormous cistern. Canaanite and early Jewish temples had magic 
b/indows in the roof, supposed to be models of the celestial windows, 
ince everything about a temple was meant to copy the cosmos, not only 
ymbolically but literally. When rain was needed, the magic windows 
ivere opened, and this was believed to cause a corresponding action in 
he celestial region. 2 This is why the Bible says God sent Noah's 
flood by opening all the windows of heaven at once (Genesis 7:1 1). 

The biblical firmament of brass was based on an ancient Oriental 
mage of the house of Varuna, located in the zenith. It was a "house 
bf many mansions," corresponding to Jesus's description of his father's 
heaven (John 14:2). It had a thousand doors through which the light 
bf the celestial regions could shine, forming the stars. 5 These were 
iransmuted by biblical writers into the windows of heaven. 

1. Gaster, 6. 2. Larousse, 79. 3. Campbell, Or.M., 177. 


liost Asiatic gods claimed the title of Firstborn of the Womb, in 
anskrit Hiranyagarbha. Each priesthood wanted its own god to be 
firstborn" of the Creatress, because her eldest child would wield 
atural authority over the others. Since it was impossible for more than 
ne god to be the Firstborn, scholars simply used the title and 
llaimed each god was the firstborn of one of the Great Mother's virgin 

The classic example was the Buddha, born in many incarnations, 
ach time as a "firstborn" of the Goddess's earthly representative, a 
pmple maiden or devadasi, "Virgin Bride of God," bearing the name 
and spirit) of Maya, the virgin aspect of Mother Kali. As in all myths 
f divine births, the maiden might have an earthly husband, but he 
kln't lie with her until after she brought forth her firstborn child, 
|ho was the son of God, or, in Buddha's case, the son of Ganesha, the 
Lord of Hosts. 1 

The actual mechanism of these divine impregnations was quite 
leral. The virgin mother-to-be deflowered herself by straddling the 
icred lingam the god's erect penis and allowing it to penetrate her. 2 
i /hile thus conceiving the god's son, the virgin placed a wreath of 
owers on the head of his image, a symbolic act reminiscent of the 
ticient Indian svayamara ceremony. 3 The wreath was her own 
pnital symbol; the god's "head" was his. The god's head and the head 
This lingam were both anointed with holy oil for the sacred 
liarriage, certainly a logical necessity for inserting a stone shaft into a 
agina. The custom and the temple phalli were standard 



Firstborn throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean world, where the 

holy oil was known as chrism, and the priapic god was therefore a 
,^ ^^ m wm Christos or "Anointed One." 

In the Middle East, Maya became Maia, Mari, or Mary, another 
"virgin bride of God" who served as a temple maiden or kadesha, the 
equivalent of the Hindu devadasi. According to the classic Indo- 
European pattern, the angel of the Lord "came in unto" Mary (Luke 
1:28), which was the biblical term for sexual intercourse; and her 
husband Joseph "knew her not until she had brought forth her 
firstborn son" (Matthew 1:25). 

Divinely begotten firstborn children were sacer singled out for a 
special fate from the earliest times, when first fruits of all kinds were 
offered to the same deities supposed to have given them. Firstborn sons 
embodied the god, became the god, and were offered to the god. A 
mass sacrifice of firstborn sons in Egypt, to appease the deities during a 
severe drought, was recorded in the Old Testament by Jewish scribes 
who revised the legend to claim their own Yahweh was responsible for 
killing the Egyptian children (Exodus 12:29). 

Actually, Egyptian firstborn-sacrifice came from very ancient tradi- 
tions. The Book of the Dead said, "On the day of hacking in pieces 
the firstborn ... the mighty ones in heaven light the fire under the 
cauldrons where are heaped up the thighs of the firstborn." 4 Under 
the later dynasties these may have been animal sacrifices, but the 
hieroglyphic sign of the "thighs" showed human legs, not animal 
legs. The Bible says Yahweh copied the act of Egypt's "mighty ones in 
heaven," and sent out fire to consume the sons of Aaron on the altar 
(Leviticus 10:2). 

Like an Egyptian god, Yahweh told his priests: "Sanctify unto me 
all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children 
of Israel, both of man and of beast; it is mine" (Exodus 13:2). Firstborn 
children were offered on Yahweh's altars until priests began to permit 
redemption of the child by offering a lamb instead (Exodus 13:1 5). 
Thus the paschal lamb of the Passover legend was really a substitute 
for the son, just as the ram who replaced Isaac on Yahweh's altar also 
represented a transition from human to animal sacrifice (Genesis 
22:9-13). The story of Isaac and the ram probably was copied from the 
Boeotian myth of the king's firstborn son Phrixus, who was to be 
sacrificed on the altar, when the ram of the Golden Fleece miraculoush 
appeared as a substitute victim. 5 

Yahweh's acceptance of an animal sacrifice in place of a human 
one didn't necessarily mean he was more humane than contemporary 
gods elsewhere. Long before the period allotted to Abraham, Oriental 
nations had been offering animals instead of human victims. 6 Indeed, 
the Jews seem to have clung to the older custom for a longer time than 
most of their contemporaries. They ignored Hadrian's prohibition of 
human sacrifice, and continued in secret to sustain their god on humam 
blood, as in the rites of the Essenic Christos. 7 See Virgin Birth. 


Romans may have given up human sacrifice, but they had not 
riven up the ceremony of firstborn-conception. Roman brides rou- 
tinely deflowered themselves on the carved phalli of Hermes, Tutunus, 
j-'riapus, or some other "anointed" god before lying with their 
bridegrooms, so their firstborn children would be god-begotten. 8 It was 
tommon everywhere to refer to firstborn children as "born by the 
trace of God." 9 

Fathers of the Christian church deplored the custom, because it 
|nade an everyday event of the birth of a Christos which they 
[referred to consider miraculous. St. Augustine denounced Roman 
lomen for encouraging young brides to "come and sit on the 
riasculine monstrosity representing Priapus." The women, he said, 
riewed this custom as "very honest and religious." 10 Lactantius 
jxplained that the idea of the ceremony was to render the bride fruitful 
by her communion with the divine nature." u 

After the "divine nature" of these priapic gods was declared a 
levilish nature, yet the ceremony may have persisted, as indicated by 
hedieval witches' description of intercourse with the devil. They 
laimed his penis was hard and cold, and his body was "cold all over, 
Ike a creature of stone." 12 Such a "devil" could well have been a 
feature of stone in fact that is, a statue of Priapus or one of the 
llther phallic gods, believed to beget Antichrist in the classical manner, 
b the firstborn of a virgin mother. 

1. Larousse, 332. 2. Rawson, E.A., 29. 3. Legman, 661. 4. Book of the Dead, 94. 
5. Graves, G.M. 1, 229. 6. Robertson, 36. 7. Cumont, O.R.R.P., 1 19. 
8. Simons, 77. 9. Briffault 3, 231. 10. Goldberg, 51. 11. Knight, D.W.P., 103. 
12. H.Smith, 273. 


Firmianus (ca. 250- 
Christian writer and 
church father; tutor 
to Crispus, the eldest 
son of Constantine I. 


k world-wide symbol of the Great Mother was the pointed-oval sign 
f the yoni, known as vesica piscis, Vessel of the Fish. It was associated 
dth the "Fishy Smell" that Hindus made a title of the yonic Goddess 
erself, because they said women's genitals smelled like fish. 1 The 
Chinese Great Mother Kwan-yin ("Yoni of yonis") often appeared 
s a fish-goddess. 2 As the swallower of Shiva's penis, Kali became 
linaksi the "fish-eyed" one, just as in Egypt, Isis the swallower of 
)siris's penis became Abtu, the Great Fish of the Abyss. 3 

Fish and womb were synonymous in Greek; delphos meant both. 4 
Tie original Delphic oracle first belonged to the abyssal fish-goddess 
nder her pre-Hellenic name of Themis, often incarnate in a great fish, 
hale, or dolphin (delphinos). The cycles in which she devoured and 
Kurrected the Father-Son entered all systems of symbolism from the 
Ijws' legend of Jonah to the classic "Boy on the Dolphin." Apuleius 
m the Goddess playing the part of the Dolphin was Aphrodite Salacia, 
with fish-teeming womb." 5 

Her "boy" was Palaemon, the reincarnated young sun, made new 

Vesica piscis 


Flidhais after sinking into the same abyssal womb as the dying god Heracles. 6 

The fish-goddess Aphrodite Salacia was said to bring "salacity" through 

^^^^^^^^^^^ orgiastic fish-eating on her sacred day, Friday. The Catholic church 

inherited the pagan custom of Friday fish-eating and pretended it was a 
holy fast; but the disguise was thin. Friday was dies veneris in Latin, 
the Day of Venus, or of lovemaking: Freya's Day in Teutonic Europe. 
The notion that fish are "aphrodisiac" food is still widespread even 

The Celts thought fish-eating could place new life in a mother's 1 
womb. Their hero Tuan was eaten in fish form by the Queen of 
Ireland, who thus re-conceived him and gave him a new birth. 7 In 
another myth, fish were associated with the clots of "wise blood" 
emanating from the Mother-tree with its sacred fountain, in Fairyland. 8 
They were called blood-red nuts of the Goddess Boann, eaten by 
"salmon of knowledge" who swam in her sacred fountain. "Poets and 
story-tellers, speaking of any subject difficult to deal with, often say, 
'Unless I had eaten the salmon of knowledge I could not describe it."" 
The fish symbol of the yonic Goddess was so revered throughout 
the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it 
over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital 
meanings. Some claimed the fish represented Christ because Greek 
ichthys, "fish," was an acronym for "Jesus Christ, Son of God." But the 
Christian fish-sign was the same as that of the Goddess's yoni or 
Pearly Gate: two crescent moons forming a vesica piscis. Sometimes the 
Christ child was portrayed inside the vesica, which was superimposed 

Fish on Mary's belly and obviously represented her womb, just as in the 

ancient symbolism of the Goddess. 

A medieval hymn called Jesus "the Little Fish which the Virgin 
caught in the Fountain." ,0 Mary was equated with the virgin 
Aphrodite-Mari, or Marina, who brought forth all the fish in the sea. Or 
the Cyprian site of Aphrodite's greatest temple, Mary is still wor- 
shipped as Panaghia Aphroditessa. 11 In biblical terms, "Jesus son of 
Maria" meant the same as Yeshua son of Marah, or Joshua son of 
Nun (Exodus 33:1 1), which also means son of the Fish-mother. Mary's 
many Mesopotamian names like Mari, Marriti, Nar-Marratu, Mara, j 
were written like the Hebrew Mem with an ideogram meaning both 
"sea" and "mother." 12 The next letter in the Hebrew sacred alpha- 
bet was Nun, "fish." 

Another biblical name for the Goddess was Mehitabel, none other 
than the Egyptian Fish-mother Mehit in a Hebrew disguise. 15 

1. Campbell, CM., 13. 2. Goldberg, 98. 3. Campbell, Or.M., 149. 

4. Briffault 3, 1 50. 5. Neumann, A. P., 6. 6. Graves, G. M. 2, 102. 

7.Spence,94. 8. Briffault 2,631. 9. Joyce 1,439; Squire, 55. 

10. Harding, 58. 11. Ashe, 192. 12. Hooke, M.E.M., 24. 13. Budge, D.N., 151. 


Celtic name for the woodland Goddess in the form of a hind or doe; 
Diana as the White Hind of numerous early-medieval romances. She 


nurtured many heroes and led them on mystic adventures. When 
they died she took them to the fairyland that the Norse called Hinder- 
fjall (Hind-Mountain). 1 Often they grew horns and became stag-gods. 

l.Turville-Petre, 199. 



The biblical flood story, the "deluge," was a late offshoot of a cycle of 
flood myths known everywhere in the ancient world. Thousands of 
years before the Bible was written, an ark was built by Sumerian 
Ziusudra. In Akkad, the flood hero's name was Atrakhasis. In Babylon 
he was Uta-Napishtim, the only mortal to become immortal. In 
Greece he was Deucalion, who repopulated the earth after the waters 
subsided, with the help of his wife Pyrrha and the advice of the Great 
Goddess of the waters, Themis. In Armenia, the hero was Xisuthros a 
corruption of Sumerian Ziusudra whose ark landed on Mount 
Ararat. 1 

According to the original Chaldean account, the flood hero was 
told by his god, "Build a vessel and finish it. By a deluge I will destroy 
substance and life. Cause thou to go up into the vessel the substance of 
all that has life." Technical instructions followed: the ark was to be 
600 cubits long by 60 wide, with three times 3600 measures of asphalt 
on its exterior and the same amount inside. Three times 3600 porters 
brought chests of provisions, of which 3600 chests were for the hero's 
immediate family, while "the mariners divided among themselves 
twice three thousand six hundred chests." 2 It seems that Noah's ark was 
much smaller than earlier heroic proportions. 

As long ago as 1872, George Smith translated the Twelve Tablets 
of Creation from Ashurbanipal's library, and discovered the earlier 
version of the flood myth. 5 Among the details that religious orthodoxy 
took care to suppress was the point that the god who caused the flood 
was disobedient to the Great Mother, who didn't want her earthly 
children drowned. Mother Ishtar severely punished the disobedient 
god by cursing him with her "great lightnings." She set her magic 
rainbow in the heavens to block his access to offerings on earthly 
altars, "since rashly he caused the flood-storm, and handed over my 
people to destruction." 4 

Old Testament writers copied other details of the ancient flood 
myth but could not allow their god to be punished by the Great 
Whore of Babylon, as if he were a naughty child sent to bed without 
supper by an angry mother. Thus, they transformed Ishtar's rainbow 
barrier into a "sign of the covenant" voluntarily set in the heavens by 
God himself (Genesis 9:13). 

The Tigris-Euphrates valley was subject to disastrous floods. One 
especially was long remembered; geologists have linked it with the 
volcanic cataclysm that blew apart the island of Thera (Santorin) and 
destroyed Cretan civilization. When Sir Leonard Woolley was 

Cubit From Latin 
cubitum, "elbow"; the 
length of an average 
hand and forearm from 
the tip of the middle 
finger to the elbow 
(about 18-21 

Ashurbanipai King 
of Assyria ca. 669-630 
B.C., military leader 
and statesman. He 
collected at Nineveh 
a large library of 
cuneiform texts, 
rediscovered by 
archeologists in the 
19th century a.d. 



excavating the site of Ur, he found the track of a mighty flood a layer 
of clay without artifacts, eight feet thick. 5 Such a flood may have been 
identified with the watery Chaos that all Indo-European peoples be- 
lieved would swallow up the world at the end of its cycle, and out of 
which a new world would be reborn in the womb of the Formless 
Mother. 6 The ark and its freight represented seeds of life passing 
through the period of Chaos from the destruction of one universe to the 
birth of the next. Even in the Bible, the "birth" was heralded by the 
Goddess's yonic dove (Genesis 8:12). 

Gnostic literature preserved the older view of the flood-causing 
God as an evil destroyer of humanity, and the Goddess as its 
preserver. Because people refused to worship him alone, jealous Jeho- 
vah sent the flood to wipe out all life. Fortunately the Goddess 
opposed him, "and Noah and his family were saved in the ark by means 
of the sprinkling of light that proceeded from her, and through it the 
world was again filled with humankind." 7 

This Gnostic interpretation had both Babylonian and Hellenic 
roots. Greeks said the primal sea-mother Themis gave Deucalion and 
his wife occult knowledge ("light") of how to create human beings from 
stones, "the bones of their Mother," i.e., of the earth. 8 Raising up 
living people from stones or bones was a popular miracle. Jesus 
mentioned it, and Ezekiel's God claimed to have done it in the valley 
of bones (Ezekiel 37). 

1. Graves, CM. 1, 142; Hooke, M.E.M., 130. 2. Lethaby, 239. 3. Ceram, 314. 
4. Assyr. & Bab. Lit, 357; Epic ofGilgamesh, 112. 5. Ceram, 353. 
6. Avalon, 233. 7. Pagels, 55. 8. Graves, CM. 1, 139. 

Firmianus (ca. 250- 
330 a.d.) early 
Christian writer and 
church father; tutor to 
Crispus, the eldest son 
of Constantine I. 


Roman Goddess of spring, "The Flourishing One," annually hon- 
ored at the May Day festival called Floralia. Lactantius noted with 
distaste that Flora was "a Lady of Pleasure," but she was prominent 
and important in Roman religion. Some said her name was the secret 
soul-name of Rome itself. 1 

St. Augustine and other fathers of the church abominated Flora 
and her festival, which, they said, was a licentious orgy of nude 
dancing and promiscuous behavior. 2 

1. J.H. Smith, D.C.P., 225. 2. GR. Scott, 68. 


Popular soul-symbol in many ancient religions, due to a primitive 
belief that women could conceive children by swallowing a fly bearing 
the soul of a previously deceased person. Virgin mothers of Celtic 
heroes Etain, Cu Chulainn conceived in this way. 1 Greeks similar- 
ly believed souls could travel from one life to the next in insect form; 



the very word for soul, psyche, meant a butterfly. In the Middle East, 
Baal-Zebub or Beelzebub was "Lord of Flies" because he was a 
psychopomp; his title really meant Lord of Souls. 

Behind such images can be seen an archaic mode of thought, 
predating the discovery of fatherhood, when men evolved various 
crude theories to explain the mystery of how a fetus came to be in a 
woman's body. 2 

1. Spence, 95-6. 2. Neumann, A.C.U., 11; Stone, 1 1. 

Flying Ointment 

Flying Ointment 

A drug like aconite was probably responsible for the report that 
witches flew through the air with the heathen Goddess Diana, covering 
vast distances between sunset and cockcrow. 1 A Dominican friar, 
Father Nider, said two of his brethren witnessed a witch's trip to the 
sabbat, which turned out to be a drug trip only. She rubbed her body 
with an ointment, then lay down in a kneading-trough and passed into a 
state of delirium, thrashing about, and muttering of Venus and the 
devil. When she returned to her senses, the friars told her she had been 
to a meeting of devils and witches. On another occasion, Pope Julius 
Ill's chief astrologer experimentally rubbed a woman's body with witch- 
salve composed of hemlock, mandrake, henbane, and belladonna. 
She went into a coma lasting 36 hours and experienced many 
hallucinations. 2 

Professor H. S. Clarke recently noted that many drugs used by 
witches were known to cause such effects. Aconite disturbs the 
heartbeat and produces peculiar sensations, including dizziness or a 
sensation of flying. Belladonna produces delirium. Hemlock causes 
excitement and later paralysis. "Rubbing such ointments into the skin 
would intensify any physiological properties." These drugs, not the 
fat of boiled children that churchmen deemed essential, made the 
"magic" of witches' flying ointment. 3 

Oil was the vehicle for a flying ointment of Roman witches, 
according to Lucian, who described a woman transforming herself 
into a night-raven by rubbing her body with holy oil, then flying away 
through the window. 4 The flying journey to heaven was the primary 
component of any magical initiation; it could be induced by ointment, 
or by eating the body of a god. By eating the flesh of Osiris in the 
form of bread, an initiate could become an Osiris and ascend to heaven, 
and "in one little moment pass over limitless distances which would 
need millions and hundreds of thousands of years for a man to pass 


Though ascent to heaven via a god's eaten body was certainly a 
central Christian doctrine, the church declared it a sin to believe it 
could be done by the living, with the help of a non-Christian deity. Up 
to the middle of the medieval period, the church said the flights of 

Professor H. S. 
Clarke Author of an 
appendix to 
Margaret Murray's 
Witch Cult in 
Western Europe, 1 92 1 . 


Focus witches were wholly imaginary, and it was heresy to believe them real. 

Footbinding After the Inquisition took shape, the church said the flights of witches 

^^^^^^^^^^^ were real, and it was heresy to believe them imaginary. 

The earlier opinion appeared in the Canon Episcopi, written by a 
secretary of the Archbishop of Trier about 900 a.d., though it was 
passed off as a canon of the 4th-century Council of Ancyra; its 
fraudulence was demonstrated centuries later. It told Christians to 
reject the "demonic illusions" that made women think they flew 
through the night air with the pagan Goddess Diana. 6 When the 
church's opinion was reversed in the 1 3th century, those who doubted 
the witches' flights were said to "sin in the lack of true reverence to 
our mother the church." 7 

Supported by plenty of "evidence" from the torture chamber, the 
useful theory of witches' flights could account for the fact that no one 
ever saw the vast assemblages, allegedly coming together from great 
distances, to the devilish sabbat. 8 It could also account for the prison 
suicides of victims who beat their heads against their cell walls until they 
died, to avoid further torture. The inquisitor Bodin said witches left 
unbound between sessions in the torture chamber often dashed them- 
selves against the wall and broke their necks because they tried to fly 
away with Diana or Minerva. 9 

Many women confessed under torture that they dug up children's 
corpses to make their flying ointment. On one occasion at Lindheim, 
six women confessed to this crime and were sentenced to the stake. The 
family of one of the women instituted an investigation of the grave in 
question, where the child's body was discovered intact. The inquisitors 
smoothly explained that the devil had reassembled the body to cause 
confusion. The witches were burned on schedule. 10 

1. Kramer & Sprenger, 104. 2. Castiglioni, 249-50. 3. Robbins, 364, 366. 
4. Budge, E. M 204. 5. Book of the Dead, 499. 6. J. B. Russell, 76. 
7. Robbins, 74, 514. 8. Arens, 185. 9. Scot, 16. 10. Castiglioni, 249. 


Latin for "hearth," the first altar, and center of early tribal life. 1 
Goddess of the focus was Vesta (Greek Hestia), whose priestesses 
tended a perpetual fire that was bound up with the soul of Rome. It 
was believed the altar of Vesta was the center of the universe. The cult 
arose from Neolithic views of matrilocal power radiating from the 
home center of the clan, with the matriarch as high priestess and 
religious ceremonies centering on her hearth. 2 

1. Funk, 353. 2. Potter & Sargent, 201. 


Strange erotic custom of medieval China, practiced for a thousand 
years, up to the beginning of the 20th century, even exerting some 


influence on western Europe where women were often praised in 
romantic literature for having the tiniest possible feet. 

Crippling of the Chinese girl began at the age of five or six. 
Footbinding was a lifelong torment that slowly broke bones and 
deformed the flesh until the full "beauty" of the atrophied, three-inch 
"lotus hook" was achieved. Many women died of suppuration and 
gangrene before the desired effect was complete. 

Chinese men were conditioned to intense fetishistic passion for 
deformed female feet. Chinese poets sang ecstatic praises of the lotus 
feet that aroused their desire to fever pitch. The crippled woman was 
considered immeasurably charming by reason of her vulnerability, 
her suffering, and her helplessness she couldn't even escape an 
attacker by running away. 1 

Westerners sometimes imagined that footbinding produced a well- 
shaped but miniaturized foot. Actually, it bore little resemblance to a 
normal foot. The four smaller toes were folded completely under the 
sole; then the whole foot was folded so the underside of the heel and 
toes were brought together. The victim had to keep her feet tightly 
bandaged forever; letting them spread again would cause even worse 

1 . See Levy. 



Documentary foundations of the Christian church's temporal powers 
were often forged, including the crucial Petrine doctrine of the keys (see 
Peter, Saint). Notable among later forgeries were the Decretals of 
St. Isidore, alleged canons and decrees of the papacy from apostolic 
times to the 8th century a.d., upholding papal claims to authority 
over European nations. These documents were first composed in 
France about the year 850 a.d., though they pretended to date from 
the earliest foundations of the church. 

Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa patiently investigated the Decretals in 
the 1 5 th century and found them to be clumsy forgeries full of 
anachronisms and garbled history. 1 The church refused to acknowledge 
that its traditional privileges were founded on false documents. The 
works of subsequent scholars revealing the deception were banned and 
their authors persecuted. Apologists who tried to explain away the 
forgery were rewarded with ecclesiastical preferments. In 1628, when 
Blondel published irrefutable proof of the Decretals' fraudulence, his 
work was promptly placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. 

Among the False Decretals was the so-called Donation of Con- 
stantine, whereby Pope Sylvester I and his successors were granted 
temporal as well as spiritual dominion over the entire empire, and the 
fiefdoms of the Papal States were established. According to this 
document, Constantine made the pope the greatest feudal lord in Italy: 
[Wherefore, that the pontifical crown may be maintained in dignity, 

Index of 
Prohibited Books 

(Index Librorum 
Prohibitorum) The 
first official edition 
appeared in 1 5 59, 
though ecclesiastical 
authorities censored, 
condemned, and 
destroyed various 
kinds of books from the 
earliest centuries of 
the Christian era. 
Catholics were 
forbidden to read any 
books listed on the 
Index, which was 
regularly updated. 
Observation of this 
prohibition was 
obligatory up to 1966, 
when Pope Paul VI 
suppressed the Index. 



David Blondel 

Theologian who 
wrote Pseudo-Isidorus 
et Turrianus 
Vapulantes (Geneva, 
1628) to demonstrate 
the spurious nature of 
earlier defenses of 
the False Decretals. 

Lorenzo Valla 

1 5th-century Italian 
humanist and critic 
of the church, 
employed as a 
secretary to King 
Alfonso V of Siciliy, 
who protected Valla 
from the Inquisition. 
Later, he was 
reconciled to the 
papacy and even 
appointed an 
apostolic secretary by 
Pope Nicholas V 


we hand over and relinquish our palaces, the City of Rome, and all the 
provinces, places, and cities of Italy and the regions of the West to the 
most blessed pontiff and Universal Pope, Sylvester." But the real 
composer of the Donation, a papal official named Christophorus, 
made serious historical mistakes. He made Constantine call himself 
conqueror of the Huns, fifty years before they appeared in Europe. 
He called the bishop of Rome "pope" two hundred years before the 
title was used. 2 

Lorenzo Valla proved the spurious nature of the Donation as earl 
as 1440. He wrote: "Even if it had been genuine, it would by now 
have been rendered void by the crimes alone of the Papacy, through 
whose avarice Italy has been plunged in constant war." 3 The church 
refused to admit the fraud until nearly four centuries later. A Greek 
saying was that the chief industry of papal Rome was fabrication of 
false documents. After setting the precedent, "Nearly every pontificate 
will add its supplement of false documents to this formidable corpus 
whence the theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas among them, will for a 
long period confidently derive the justification for whatever the 
Roman Pontiffs may desire to do or say." 4 The Gospels themselves 
were forged as required to uphold privileges and practices of the early 
church. "We must never forget that the majority of the writings of the 
New Testament were not really written or published by those whose 
names they bear." 5 

After burning books and closing pagan schools, the church dealt in 
another kind of forgery: falsification by omission. All European 
history was extensively edited by a church that managed to make itself 
the sole repository of literary and historical records. With all impor- 
tant documents assembled in the monasteries, and the lay public 
rendered illiterate, Christian history could be forged with impunity. 

1. White 2, 314. 2. Chamberlin, B. P., 14-15. 3. Chamberlin, B. P., 166. 
4. Guignebert, 249. 5. Stanton, 106. 




"Furka" or "fork" described the so-called lost letter of the Greek 
alphabet, digamma, a double gamma having the sound of F. Its Sanskrit 
name was forkwas, linguistic root of the two trees on which dying 
gods were sacrificed: Norse fyr (fir) and Latin quercus (oak). 1 The 
Egyptian furka was the Y-shaped cross on which the god Set was 
crucified. It was also a phallic symbol of the god's sacred marriage. 2 Thej 
"thieves' cross" in Christian iconography had the same shape. Such 
crosses flanking Jesus's cross may have represented sacred marriage. 
The Y-shaped fork was sometimes regarded as a female genital 
symbol, in conjunction with the male trident or three-pronged fork. 5 

The voodoo savior-god Legba characteristically used as his crutch 
a derivative of the sacred furka of Set. 4 

1 . Potter & Sargent, 230. 2. Campbell, M. I., 29. 3. de Lys, 233. 
4. Martello, 164. 


tort"" 6 Fortune 

The Roman Triple Goddess of Fate had many "Fortune" titles: Frastrada 

Fortuna Primigeneia, the Firstborn; Fortuna Muliebris, Goddess of mmmmhmmm 

Women; Fortuna Scribunda, the Fate Who Writes; Fortuna Regia, 
Goddess of Rulership; Bona Fortuna or Mala Fortuna, good and bad 

Fortuna Augusti was the foundation of the emperors' right to rule. 
Romans swore by the emperor's personal Fortuna, who governed his 
soul. Caesars "constantly had before them, even during sleep or on 
voyages, a golden statue of the goddess, which on their death they 
transmitted to their successor and which they invoked under the name 
pi Fortuna Regia, a translation of Tyche Basileos (Fate of the 
Rulership)." l 

Greek Tyche was the same as Fortuna. When she was a Fate 
attached to an individual, like a guardian angel, she was a psyche 
ssoul) or anima (spirit). Her Roman name Fortuna may have descended 
from Vortumna, "She Who Turns the Year," the Great Mother 
turning the celestial wheel of the stars and also the karmic wheel of 
fate. 2 

Under the name of Agatha, "Kindly Fortune," the Goddess was 
associated with a serpent-consort, Agathodemon, a genius of kindly 
rate. 3 On the Orphic Bowl of the 5th century a.d. he appeared next to 
her in the guise of the Lord of Death, "halfway around the circle, at 
he point of midnight . . . holding in his right hand the poppy stalk of the 
Bleep of death, turned downward." 4 In this case Fortuna and her 
consort stood for a fortunate life followed by a gentle death. The 
Goddess's favored ones went to her paradise in the far west, often 
balled the Fortunate Isles. 

On the Goddess's magic wheel of time, odd numbers were sacred 
|o her, even numbers to her consort. Roman religious festivals were 
Icheduled for the odd-numbered "female" days, because they were 
[upposed to be more propitious than "male" days. 5 

Fortuna became patroness of gamblers when her fate-wheel was 

lecularized as the carnival Wheel of Fortune, and she was renamed 

Lady Luck. In England she was transformed into a fairy-creature called 

ji "portune," which might lead horses astray, make travelers lose their 

Ivay, and other pranks. 6 Like most other forms of the Goddess she was 

Converted into a malicious spirit. 

1. Cumont, A.R.G.R., 86; MM, 97. 2. Graves, G.M. 1, 126. 

3. Elworthy, 384. 4. Campbell, M.I., 388. 5. Rose, 228. 6. Hazlitt, 518. 


legendary wife of Charlemagne; a fairy or witch from the east. The 
athedral of Aix-la-Chapelle was said to have been built over a magic 
ool containing Frastrada's ring. Anyone who visited the pool by 
loonlight would be seized by its spell and forced to return again and 



again. 1 A similar tale was told of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, 
formerly sacred to Hecate Trevia. 



"Spirit of the Way," a Sufi title of a sacred harlot trained to teach 
sexual mysticism; the Arabic equivalent of Shakti. 

Frederick II 

Holy Roman Emperor who opposed his church, once remarking that 
"three have seduced the whole world, that is, Moses the Hebrews, 
Christ the Christians, and Mohammed the heathens." Medieval 
heretics revered him and made him a legendary hero like Merlin, 
similarly hidden in an enchanted sleep, awaiting his Second Coming. 
It was believed that Frederick rested in a magic mountain with his 
sleeping knights around him, guarded by supernatural ravens. 

The prophecy of Frederick's awakening or reincarnation did not 
remain in the realm of folklore. It was taken up by educated writers 
and poets, who made it an article of anti-clerical propaganda. Books 
referred to the "old" German prophecy that another Frederick would 
come from the seed of the first, to humble the German clergy, and 
bring peace, prosperity, and freedom to the land.. 1 

I. Bernhardt, 245, 257-58, 288, 

Second Book of 
Esdras (also known as 
the Ezra Apocalypse) 
One of the 
apocryphal books 
eliminated from the 
English Bible but 
appearing as an 
appendix to the New 
Testament in the 
Latin Vulgate. 


Theological doctrine stated that God allows human beings to be 
tempted into evil, so by a personal decision each individual may "freely" 
elect to resist temptation or not. The doctrine was developed in 
answer to the argument that God could prevent sin if he wanted to, and 
because he did not prevent it, there was something wrong with him, 
not with humanity. As 2 Esdras put it: "It had been better not to have 
given the earth unto Adam; or else, when it was given him, to have 
restrained him from sinning. For what profit is it for men now in this 
present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for 

The problem was to absolve God from suspicion of a frivolous 
malice, like that of a child who teases an animal with food, then 
punishes it for eating. If God was all-knowing then he must have known 
in advance what man would choose, which would take the element of 
surprise out of human sins. On the other hand, if God couldn't foresee 
what man would choose, and could be surprised by human actions, 
he wasn't all-knowing. 


Scotus Erigena piously tried to thrash his way out of the paradox 
with a new dogma of "divine ignorance," but unfortunately succeed- 
ed in demonstrating that God fails to understand what he created. 
Erigena said: "There is another kind of ignorance in God, inasmuch 
as he may be said not to know what things he foreknows and predestines 
until they have appeared experientially in the course of created 

events There is a third kind of divine ignorance, in that God may 

be said to be ignorant of things not yet made manifest in their effects 
through experience of their action and operation; of which, neverthe- 
less, he holds the invisible cause in himself, by himself created, and to 
himself known." 2 

These subtleties added up to a statement that God doesn't know 
what he knows, with a hidden conclusion that man is smarter than 
God, because man (that is, Erigena) knows all about what God knows 
and what God doesn't know. Theologians who wrote learnedly on 
the subject of God's ignorance were going out on a limb, claiming that 
they could scrutinize and analyze what they themselves declared 
inscrutable. So troublesome did the doctrine of free will become that 
some Protestant sects, such as Calvinist Presbyterianism, abandoned 
it altogether in favor of predestination, stating that every person was 
already saved or damned from birth by God's unalterable decree. 
This idea restored God's omniscience, but eroded the incentive to live a 
godly life. 

There was an eastern folk tale that allegorized the relationship 
between God and humanity as between a wizard-shepherd and his 
flock of remarkably intelligent sheep. Knowing that their master would 
eventually kill, skin, and eat them, the sheep kept trying to run away, 
and proved very troublesome. At last the shepherd used his magic 
power to put his sheep into a hypnotic trance and gave them 
suggestions that they would internalize as their own beliefs. He told 
[them they were immortal, so death could do them no harm. He 
old them to trust in their master's goodness no matter what happened 
to them. Finally, he told them not to think about their fate at all, 
Decause it wouldn't happen right away. There was no need to anticipate 
it. Then the sheep became obedient, and stopped trying to escape. 
Each one quietly awaited its own death at the master's hand, believing 
that it had decided to do so of its own free will. 3 

One of the "suppressed" verses of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 
Iso made nonsense of the doctrine of free will, after the fashion of 
he author of Esdras. In this verse, not man but God was made 
esponsible for the Fall, since he had foreseen it, planned it, and 
supplied the circumstances that made it inevitable: 

O Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make, 
And even with Paradise devise the Snake; 
For all the sin wherewith the Face of Man 
Is blackened, Man 's forgiveness give and take! 
l.H. Smith, 235. 2. Campbell, CM., 343. 3. Wilson, 268. 

Free Will 

Johannes Scotus 
Erigena 9th-century 
Irish theologian, 
schoolmaster at the 
court of the West 
Frankish king Charles 
the Bald. 



var. Frea, Frigga, 

Freya had many 
alternate names. She 
was Gerd the Earth 
Mother, or Eartha; 
Godiva, "the 
Goddess"; Syr, "the 
Sow"; Gefn, "the 
Giver"; Horn, the holy 
harlot; the Vanadis; 
or Mardoll, the Moon 
Shining Over the 
Sea. 8 Sometimes she 
was simply Lofn, 
"Love." 9 She was also 
identified with 
Mana, the Moon; or 
Hel, the underworld; 
or Nerthus, the primal 
Goddess of the Plow, 
in charge of the fertility 
of the earth; she 
separated the island of 
Zealand from 
Sweden by plowing a 
furrow around it. 10 


Great Goddess of northern Europe, leader of the "primal matri- 
archs" called Afliae, "powerful ones," or Disk, "divine grandmothers": 
the same as the Hindu matrikadevis or mother goddesses. Freya was 
the Vanadis, the ruling ancestress (dfs) of the Vanir or elder gods, who 
ruled before the arrival of Odin and the patriarchal Aesir ("Asians") 
from the east. Myths said Odin learned everything he knew about magic 
and divine power from Freya. 1 

The pagans said nothing could be lucky without Freya's presence. 
Even the gods languished and began to decline toward death, like 
mortals, when Freya was taken from them. 2 

Like all forms of the Goddess, Freya represented sexual love, 
which is why her alternate name Frigg became a colloquialism for 
sexual intercourse. Her consort Frey sometimes took the form of a 
phallus. In Uppsala his name was Fricco, "Lover," cognate with the 
phallic god Priapus, from the Indo-European root prij, to make love 
which also gave rise to the modern "prick." 3 

Though he was sometimes called Freya's twin brother, like the 
Artemis-Apollo, Isis-Osiris pairs, Frey made a lingam-yoni combina- 
tion with Freya. Their names meant "the Lord" and "the Lady." 4 
Some writers identified them with Attis and Cybele, tracing Frigga to 
"Frigia" or Phrygia, the Magna Mater's home. 5 

Frey was the god of Yule, the pagan solstitial festival assimilated to 
Christmas. At the turning of the solar year he was born of his virgin- 
mother-sister-bride. 6 Like other seasonal gods he had a perpetual rival, 
Njord, the other half of the year. They were collectively blotgodar 
(blood-gods), who fought and sacrificed each other over and over. Njord 
was called the first god of the Swedes, having ruled before Odin 
brought alien gods from Asia. Frey was another aspect of him, wor- 
shipped in the sacred grove at Uppsala long before it was taken over 
by Odin's priests. 7 The grove itself stood for the body of the Goddess. 

Many of Freya's names were only kennings (metaphors) from the 
hymns composed in her honor by her skalds. Focusing on the theme 
of love, and known as mansongr, "woman songs," these compositions jj 
were specifically forbidden by the medieval church. 11 Despite the 
opposition of the clergy, Germans persisted in believing that Freya's 
sacred day, Friday, was the luckiest day for weddings. 12 

Freya or one of her equivalents married each of the early Swedish ; 
kings: "They were regarded in heathen times as the husbands of the 
fertility goddess. . . . [T]hey suffered a real or symbolic death in that 
capacity when their time of supremacy came to an end." Scandina- 
vian Aryans followed the typical pattern of sacred marriage between 
Goddess and king, the latter becoming identified with the male 
fertility deity whose function it was "to die for the land and for his 
people, while the goddess never dies. Her function is to weep over 
him, perhaps to help bring about his return, or to give birth to the divine a 
child who is to take his place." 13 (See Kingship.) 


After their abrupt sacrificial deaths, Freya kept the spirits of slain Friday 

kings and heroes in her Fensalirox Marsh-halls, also called Folk- 

vangr, the Field of Warriors. 14 They could be reborn after spending a ^^^^^^^^^^ 

cycle of time in the wet, fertile earth-womb. Freya's Marsh-halls 
recall the "bog" where Baal-Hadad lay for seven years before he was 
resurrected to godhood by priestesses of Asherah. 15 Like the early 
Semitic worshippers of the Great Mother, Aryans were "men of 
clay" the meaning of their name because their bodies came forth 
from Modir. This meant the root of both "mud" and "mother"; she was 
the same primal creatress whom the Russians called Moist Mother 
Earth. 16 Modir too was another manifestation of Freya. 

She was especially linked with the strange archaic god Heimdall, 
whose name meant "a ram," undoubtedly one of the ubiquitous 
animal substitutes for a human sacrifice. The ram's horn was Heimdall's 
ringing Gjallarhorn, on which he blew the Last Trump to announce 
the coming of doomsday and the world's destruction. In the Bible, 
magic ram's horns were supposed to bring about the destruction of 
Jericho in the same manner. 17 The link between Heimdall and Freya 
suggested her Kali-like function as a Destroying Goddess, which she 
would assume when men and gods displeased her by forgetting her 
principles of right living, justice, honor, and peace. She knew more 
magic than the gods. Her knowledge was collectively seidr, cognate of 
Sanskrit siddhi, the miraculous powers developed by the practice of 

Freya had so many incarnations and aspects that the scholars who 
tried to characterize her by only one of them soon ran into a mass of 
contradictions. She was called the Goddess of fertility, love, the moon, 
the sea, the earth, the underworld, death, birth; virgin, mother, 
ancestress, queen of heaven, ruler of fate, of the stars, of magic; the 
Great Sow wedded to the sacrificial boar; the Mistress of Cats; the 
leader of Valkyries; the Saga or "sayer" who inspired all sacred poetry. 
In sum, she was as many-sided as any other version of the Goddess. 

l.Turville-Petre, 144-59. 2. Branston, 249. 3. Branston, 134, 158. 

4. Gelling & Davidson, 163. 5. Borchardt, 222. 6. Oxenstiema, 216. 

7. Turville-Petre, 163, 172. 8. Branston, 133. 9. Sturluson, 59. 

10. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 113. 11. Turville-Petre, 176. 

12. H.R.E. Davidson G.M.V.A., 112. 13. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 97, 110. 

14. Turville-Petre, 189. 1 5. Hooke, M.E.M., 87. 16. Larousse, 287. 

17. H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 173-75. 


Day of the Goddess Freya, called unlucky by Christian monks, 
because everything associated with female divinity was so called. Friday 
the 13 th was said to be especially unlucky because it combined the 
Goddess's sacred day with her sacred number, drawn from the 1 3 
months of the pagan lunar year. (See Menstrual Calendar.) 
Romans named the day dies Veneris after Venus, their own 



version of the same Goddess. In modern French, Friday is still 
vendredi, 1 and in Italian, venerdi. 

Friday used to be the seventh day of the week. It was the Sabbath 
of the Jewish lunar calendar and is still the Sabbath of Islam. 
Scandinavian pagans, Hindus, and rural Scots insisted that Friday was 
the most propitious day for a marriage because it was the day that 
favored fertility. 

Fish were eaten on Friday as fertility charms, in honor of Venus 
(or Freya) whose totems they were. Fish are still considered "aphro- 
disiac" food because they were sacred to Aphrodite. Thus the Catholic 
habit of eating fish on Friday was wholly pagan in origin. But the 
church never acknowledged the debt. In the Middle Ages, when pagan 
votaries of Freya continued to celebrate her rites on Friday, church- 
men designated her day as the day of "devil worship." 2 

1. Funk, 337. 2. de Lys, 375-77. 

Cylinder seals A 

type of sculpture that 
developed in 
Mesopotamia during 
the protoliterate 
period. Cylinder seals 
were small stone 
cylinders with figures 
carved in relief, to be 
rolled across a tablet of 
wet clay which 
would then take the 
impression of a 
picture. Subjects were 
usually magical or 


Medieval totems of witches were frogs because ancient traditions 
associated the frog with Hecate Egypt's Hekat, Queen of the Heaven- 
ly midwives. Egyptians made the frog a symbol of the fetus. Hekat's 
sacred Amulet of the Frog bore the words, "I Am the Resurrection," 
another phrase of birth-magic copied by early Christians. 1 

In Rome, the frog was sacred to Venus, of whom Hecate was one 
aspect. Her triple yoni sometimes was shown as a fleur-de-lis com- 
posed of three frogs. 2 To this day, a garment closure of cord shaped like 
a fleur-de-lis is called a "frog." Tailors' folklore said every garment 
should have exactly nine frogs, which might be traced all the way back 
to Babylonian cylinder seals showing nine frogs as a fertility charm: 
the Ninefold Goddess ruling the nine months of gestation. 3 

1. Budge, E.M., 63. 2. de Lys, 139, 141. 3. Budge, A.T.,91. 


Chinese patriarchal hero, said to have been the first man to discover 
the male role in reproduction, though he was himself conceived without 
a father. 1 

l.Briffault 1,366. 


"Grandmother" or "Ancestress," the holy Mother-mountain of Ja- 
pan. 1 Mount Fujiyama was interpreted as a point of contact between 


heaven and the underworld, as were most mountains. (See Furies 


1 . Campbell, P.M., 336. 


Also called Erinyes or Eumenides, the Furies personified the venge- 
ful moods of the Triple Goddess Demeter, who was also called Erinys 
as a punisher of sinners. The three Erinyes were emanations of her. 

"Whenever their number is mentioned there are three of them But 

they can all be mentioned together as a single being, an Erinys. The 

proper meaning of the word is a 'spirit of anger and revenge' Above 

all they represented the Scolding Mother. Whenever a mother was 
insulted, or perhaps even murdered, the Erinyes appeared. Like swift 
bitches they pursued all who had flouted blood-kinship and the 
deference due to it." ' 

Greeks believed the blood of a slain mother infected her murderer 
with a dread spiritual poison, miasma, the Mother's Curse. It drew 
the implacable Furies to their victim, and also infected any who dared 
help him. In fear of the Furies' attention, lest they might have 
inadvertently assisted a matricide, people called the Furies "Good 
Ones" (Eumenides), hoping to divert their wrath. 

Aeschylus called the Furies "Children of Eternal Night." Sopho- 
cles called them "Daughters of Earth and Shadow." Their individual 
names were Tisiphone (Retaliation-Destruction), Megaera (Grudge), 
and Alecto (the Unnameable). Some said they were born of the 
blood of the castrated Heavenly Father, Uranus; others said they were 
older than any god. 2 Their antiquity is demonstrated by the fact that 
they were invoked against killers of kinfolk in the female line only: a 
relic of the matriarchal age, when all genealogies were reckoned 
through women. 3 

Aeschylus's drama The Eumenides presented the Furies pursuing 
Drestes for killing his mother, Queen Clytemnestra; but they cared 
lothing for the murder of the father. He was not a real member of the 
:lan. When Orestes asked them why they didn't punish Clytemnestra 
or murdering her husband, they answered, "The man she killed was 
lot of blood congenital." Orestes inquired (as if he didn't know), 
'But am I then involved with my mother by blood bond?" The Furies 
napped, "Murderer, yes. How else could she have nursed you 
>eneath her heart? Do you forswear your mother's intimate blood?" 4 In 
hort, the Furies harked back to a matriarchal clan system like the one 
n pre-Christian Britain, where "the son loved the father no more than a 
stranger." 5 Indeed the name of the archaic Triple Goddess of 
Ireland, Erin, or Eriu, has been linked with the triple Erinyes. 6 

The Furies were also "fairies," identified with witches because of 


Furrow their ability to lay curses on any who transgressed their law. Such 

"fairies" may have been real witches who tried to defend the rights of 

^^^^^^^^^^ women against encroachment by Christian laws. Their modus ope- 
randi could have been similar to that of the Women's Devil Bush 
society in Africa: if a woman complained to this society that her 
husband abused her, he soon died of a mysterious dose of poison. 7 

Christianity adopted the Furies, incongruously enough, as servants 
of the patriarchal God. They became part of God's penal system in 
hell: dog-faced she-demons known as Furies Who Sow Evil, Accusers 
or Examiners, and Avengers of Crimes. 8 Their duty, as always, was 
to punish sinners. As "grotesques" they appeared on the tympanum of 
Bourges Cathedral, with large pregnant bellies bearing the full 
moon's Gorgon face, and pendulous breasts terminating in dogs' 
heads. 9 Greek art, however, depicted them as stern-faced but beauti- 
ful women, bearing torches and scourges, with serpents wreathed in 
their hair like the Gorgons. 10 

Although classical tradition understood the Fury as a symbol of the 
impersonal functioning of justice, yet she came to represent men's 
hidden fear of women, an image apparently still viable. Psychiatric 
Worldview says: 

To those men who are aware of contemporary changes it becomes 
abundantly clear that there are a number of openly angry women 
around. . . . Men trained to recognize and enhance their own anger and 
aggressiveness in a society where rape and revenge are commonplace 
view angry women with alarm. . . . Men see women project onto them the 
full extent of their own potential aggressiveness. The spectre of an 
angry Fury or Medusa 's head strikes fear in men, which is then often 
awkwardly handled because men are not supposed to display fear. A 
woman seeking only reasonable social or vocational equity may be 
perceived by a man as being out to get the kind of revenge that his 
pride would require had he experienced the narcissistic and practical 
wounds that she has sustained. " 

I. Branston, 191. 2. Graves, CM. 1, 122, 126. 3. Lindsay, A.W., 34. 
4.Bachofen, 159. 5. Malory 2, 179. 6. Graves, W.G., 317. 7. Briffault 2, 548. 
8. Shumaker, 130. 9. de Givry, 27. 10. Cavendish, P.E., 123. 

II. Psychiatric Worldview, Lederle Laboratories, July/Sept. 1977. 


World-wide female-genital symbol, often combined with a male 
symbol in agrarian religions. Indian scriptures made the Earth-mother 
Sita, "Furrow," the wife of Rama, whose name meant "Enjoyment 
of Virility" and who was an incarnation of the phallic Krishna. 1 Ancient 
Egypt celebrated an important annual rite called "the finding of the 
scepter of flint in the furrow of [the Goddess] Maat." 2 Similarly, Rome 
kept a sexual-symbolic festival devoted to finding "the flints of 
Jupiter" in a sacred furrow representing Ceres or Ops, Mother Earth. 5 
The city of Rome itself was established by plowing a furrow, an act 


attributed to the legendary Romulus. A pre-Roman ancestral hero Furrow 

called Tages was said to be "born from the furrow" as a son of Mother 

Earth. 4 ^^^^^ 

The name of the zodiacal sign of the Virgin originally meant 
"Furrow." 5 Its principal star, Spica, was known in Babylon as "the 
corn-ear of the Goddess Shala." Corn-ear meant the shibboleth dis- 
played at the culmination of the rites of Ishtar, Astarte, and Demeter, 
all of whom were also the Furrow. Demeter made Iasion or Iasus her 
lover "in a thrice-plowed field," giving him the name of Triptolemus, 
"Three Plowings," because he entered the Furrow three times. He was 
also surnamed Soter, meaning both "Savior" and "Sower." 

Seed entering the furrow was almost invariably likened to semen 
entering the womb, as shown by numerous pagan savior-gods who 
entered their Mother in the form of seed and were reborn as new 
vegetation. The Latin god Semo Sancus, whose name meant both 
"seed" and "semen," mated thus with Ops and died in her embrace, to 
regenerate himself. 6 

The classic custom of plowing a furrow for magical protection 
around a town was perpetuated by country folk all over Europe. 
Even in the 20th century, Russian villages were annually "purified" by 
the same ceremony, which remained exclusively in the hands of 
women. Nine virgins and three old women (representing the Fate 
sisters, or Zorya) plowed a furrow around the village at midnight, 
calling on the Moon-goddess. Armed with scythes, clubs, and animal 
skulls, they struck down and beat any man they happened to 
encounter while performing this magic. 7 

1. 0'Flaherty, 554; Avalon, 607. 2. Budge, G.E. 1, 420. 3. Dumezil, 28. 
4. Dumezil, 636. 5. Lindsay, O.A, 81. 6. Bachofen, 214. 7. Lamusse, 287. 


The Mother goddess, 
seated on a throne, 
holding several infants. 
This earthy tuff-stone 
version is more in the 
Italian mode than 
earlier Greek renditions. 
Italy, 400-300 b.c. 

gorcon, a "grim face" 
mask of Athene or 
Medusa, signifying 
female wisdom. The 
snake headdress and belt 
are traditional. 
Greek, limestone 
pediment of the 
Temple of Artemis; 
Corfu, ca. 600-580 b.c. 

canesha, Hindu elephant 
god, the Lord of 
Hosts, said to have begot 
Buddha on the virgin 
Maya. Haihaya, 11th 

Gabriel Gabriel 


The angel who brought God's seed to the virgin Mary. The Bible 
says Gabriel "came in unto her," which meant he had sexual inter- 
course with her, in King James terminology (Luke 1:28). Gabriel's 
name means "divine husband." ' There seems to have been a hidden 
reference to the ancient custom, whereby temple virgins were im- 
pregnated by certain priests designated "fathers of the god," as in 
Egypt. 2 See Mary; Virgin Birth. 

1. Augstein, 302. 2. Budge, D.N., 169. 

var. Ge Gaea 

Greek name for Mother Earth, the "Deep-breasted One," called 
Oldest of Divinities. Though the Olympian gods under Zeus took over 
her ancient shrines, yet they swore their binding oaths by her name 
because they were subject to her law. 


Son and reincarnation of Lancelot, by Elaine the Lily Maid, who was 
also Lancelot's mother Queen Elaine for Lancelot and Galahad were 
mystically identical. Queen Elaine's son Galahad was taken to Mei- 
delant, the holy Land of Maidens, where the Lady of the Lake brought 
him up and changed his name to Lancelot. Afterward he coupled 
with the Lily Maid and begot himself as a new Galahad the same 
Oedipal idea running through all mythology, even in Christian 
father-son identity (see Incest). 

As a sacred king, Galahad ruled his land for a term of one year, 
then died "suddenly, at the altar," while experiencing a vision of the 
Holy Grail, his Mother-symbol. He was carried to heaven by angels. 1 

When the monks rewrote his story, Galahad was viewed as a purer 
knight than his father-predecessor Lancelot, whose life was marred by I 
"the vile sin of lust." Galahad was chosen to realize the Grail quest 
because he was the only knight in the whole company of the Round 
Table who was still virgin. 2 This Christianized Galahad was said to have j 
descended from Joseph of Arimathea; but another author announced 
through Guinevere that Galahad was a descendant of Jesus himself. 3 

1. Malory 2, 268. 2. Campbell, CM., 550. 3. Malory 2, 171. 


"Milk-giving Goddess," a title of White Aphrodite of Paphos, where 
her high priest Pygmalion "married" her, by keeping her white image id 
his bed. 1 The custom formed a basis for the classical myth of 


Galatea's marble statue brought to life by Aphrodite for her bridegroom. Galileo 

rhe story probably arose from a ritual of invocation, to call down the 

Goddess's spirit into her sculptured eidolon. ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Galatea was another name not only for Aphrodite but also for 
Egyptian Hathor the Celestial Cow, and Phoenician Astarte, the 
lame milk-giving Mother. Pygmalion was a Hellenized version of her 
iigh priest Pumiyathon at Byblos. 2 

Celtic tribes from Galatia named after her also worshipped the 
hilk-giving Mother as Galata, from whom Gauls and Gaels traced 
heir descent. 3 Their early-medieval hero Galahad was one of her sacred 
lings. He was a Gaulish form of Heracles, who married the Gauls' 
ncestral Goddess Galata, sometimes symbolized in Britain as Albion, 
he White Moon, source of the Milky Way. Heracles also was a 
plar hero who lived for a year like Galahad in the palace of the 
Goddess, at the hub of the spinning wheel of the galaxy (Milky 
Way). In this Lydian story the Goddess was called Omphale, the 
center," or omphalos. When the year turned around this hub full 
lircle, Heracles too was supposed to die the year-god's death in a fiery 
Iheel. 4 

All the names of Galatea-Galata-Galatia were based on gala, 
mother's milk," for the Goddess was supposed to have made the 
Lheel of the stars and constellations from her own milk. 5 Therefore the 
Moon-goddess often appeared in ancient iconography as the divine 
low, horned like the moon. 

1. Graves, CM. 1, 212. 2. Frazer, G.B., 387. 3. Graves, G.M. 2, 136. 
4. Graves, G.M. 2, 165. 5. Lawson, 13. 


[he first Christian man to achieve visual confirmation of the true 
lotion of heavenly bodies. Before Galileo, all Christendom accepted 
le church's view that man and his works stood at the center of the 
niverse, on a fixed earth surrounded by "spheres" of sun, moon, 
lanets, and stars. This was the biblical view, supported by such 

rlibles as Albert the Great, Isidore of Seville, St. Thomas Aquinas. 
The Dark Age had destroyed or forgotten ancient astronomers' 
owledge of the solar system. Aristarchus taught about 275 B.C. that 
le earth is a revolving globe in orbit around the sun. Eratosthenes 
x>ut 250 b.c. calculated the circumference of the globe at 24,662 
liles, less than 300 miles short of the true figure, 24,902. About 
40 b.c, Hipparchus calculated the diameter of the moon, and its 
istance from the earth, within a few miles of the correct figures. 1 But 
cording to Christian authorities, this information was pagan and 
lerefore heretical and wrong. 

Almost two millenia later, Nicholas Copernicus patiently observed 
nd calculated his way back to the knowledge that the earth moves 



Index of 
Prohibited Books 

(Index Librorum 
Prohibitorum) The 
first official edition 
appeared in 1559, 
though ecclesiastical 
authorities censored, 
condemned, and 
destroyed various 
kinds of books from the 
earliest centuries of 
the Christian era. 
Catholics were 
forbidden to read any 
books listed on the 
Index, which was 
regularly updated. 
Observation of this 
prohibition was 
obligatory up to 1966, 
when Pope Paul VI 
suppressed the Index. 

around the sun. After hesitating and re-checking his results for nearly 1 
thirty years, Copernicus published his book in 1 543. It was not well 
received by Catholics or Protestants. Martin Luther scoffed at it: 
"People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the 
earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the 
moon. . . . This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astrono- 
my; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to 
stand still, and not the earth." 2 

The Roman church investigated Copernicus's theory by consult- 
ingthe scriptures, and placed his book on the Index of Prohibited 
Books, where it remained until 1835. The pope announced, "The first 
proposition, that the sun is the center and does not revolve about the 
earth, is foolish, absurd, false in theology and heretical, because express- 
ly contrary to Holy Scripture. The second proposition, that the earth 
revolves about the sun and is not the center, is absurd, false in 
philosophy and . . . opposed to the true faith." 

Copernicus's calculations nevertheless fascinated Giordano Bruno, 
who accepted the heliocentric theory, attacked St. Thomas Aquinas's I 
cosmology of the spheres, published an early elucidation of the nebular 
hypothesis, and even developed something like a theory of evolution. I 
He also doubted the reality of witchcraft and asserted that most women 
burned at the stake were innocent. He was silenced in the same way: I 
burned on the Campo dei Fiori in 1600. 

Ten years later, Galileo's little telescope revealed the phases of 
Venus, the moons of Jupiter, and the moving spots on the sun. Galileo 
invited clergymen to look through the telescope for themselves, but 
they refused, saying it would imperil their souls because objects like the 
moons of Jupiter were illusions of the devil. The Church said there 
could be only seven planets, because scripture presented seven archan- 
gels, seven churches of Asia, seven golden candlesticks, and other 
such allegories. One of the church's main objections at the time to 
Galileo's discoveries was that they upset the received knowledge of 
the zodiacal system; learned ecclesiastics leaned heavily on the guidance 
of astrology. 

In 1632, Galileo published his Dialogue, with overwhelming prod 
of the Copernican theory. There was a storm of opposition from the | 
church, which went on for many years and involved priests, cardinals, I 
and two popes. A document was forged and "found" in the church's I 
files, to the effect that Galileo had been previously forbidden to teach or 
discuss Copernicanism, on pain of punishment by the Inquisition. 
Galileo was arrested, threatened with torture, and forced to abjure on I 
his knees, vowing to "curse and detest the error and the heresy of the I 
movement of the earth." According to legend, he went on to whisper I 
under his breath, Eppursimuove "But it does move." Pope Paul 
V closed the subject with a solemn statement: "The doctrine of the 
double motion of the earth about its axis and about the sun is false, 
and entirely contrary to Holy Scripture." 3 


The pope forbade interment of Galileo's remains in his family 
tomb, directing that he be buried without ceremony, monument, or 
epitaph. His memory was execrated for two centuries, for what Pope 
Urban VIII called "so great a scandal to Christendom." Ecclesiastical 
censors ordered that a later scientific work calling Galileo "renowned" 
must alter the word to "notorious." In 1846, Monsignor Marini was 
given the job of publishing the records of Galileo's trial and falsifying 
them to the church's advantage. The deception was uncovered by 
M. L'Epinois twenty years later. 4 

Many books were hurried forth under ecclesiastical auspices to 
confute Galileo. Some contained very quaint reasoning, like 

Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles; the earth has no limbs or 
muscles, therefore it does not move. It is angels who make Saturn, 
Jupiter, the sun, etc., turn round. If the earth revolves, it must also have an 
angel in the center to set it in motion; but only devils live there; it 
would therefore be a devil who would impart motion to the earth. 5 

The naive theology of the time often declared that if the earth 
moved, a stone dropped from a height would fall some way behind the 
spot directly below. Theology was shackled to the dictum of St. 
Augustine: "Nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of the 
Scripture, since greater is that authority than all the powers of the 
human mind." 6 Voetius in 17th-century Utrecht repeated the same 
dictum: "Not a word is contained in the Holy Scriptures which is not 
in the strictest sense inspired, the very punctuation not excepted." 7 

Even in the late 1 9th century, churchmen were still beating the 
dead horse of biblical cosmology. A president of the Lutheran 
Teachers' Seminary published a book refuting Copernicus, Galileo, 
Kepler, Newton, and all subsequent astronomers: 

The entire Holy Scripture settles the question that the earth is the 
principal body of the universe, that it stands fixed, and that sun and 
moon serve only to light it. . . . God never lies, never makes a mistake; ou 
of his mouth comes only truth when he speaks of the structure of the 
universe, of the earth, sun, moon, and stars. 8 

In 1885 the Catholic scholar St. George Mivart realized that 
God had indeed lied about the structure of the universe, and hypothe- 
sized that God had deliberately led his popes and cardinals into error 
jin order to teach them that astronomy lay outside their jurisdiction. This 
[became the accepted Catholic view of the Galileo fiasco. 9 It was a 
(view that did irreparable damage to the doctrine of papal infallibility, and 
lopened the way to future doubts about God's veracity. If he deceived 
Ihis chosen envoys in one matter, who could be sure he didn't deceive 
Ithem in others? 

The battle with Galileo set the pattern for three centuries of 
[ecclesiastical condemnation of each new discovery in an Age of 
Enlightenment when almost all scientific knowledge was found to be 


M. L'Epinois Roman 
Catholic authority on 
the Galileo records. 

Scipio Chiaramonti 

theologian who 
dedicated his work 
confuting Galileo to 
Cardinal Barberini. 


Ganesha contrary to Holy Writ. Linnaeus's observations of the sexual system 

Ganges of plants were banned. The theological faculty of the Sorbonne forced 

^^^^^^^^^ am Buffon to publish a recantation of his geological discoveries "which 
may be contrary to the narrative of Moses." Bernouilli was forced to 
expunge from his works the proof that the living body constantly 
changes its parts, because this contradicted the church's doctrine of the 
resurrection of the flesh. The Egyptologist Sir J. G. Wilkinson had to 
"modify" ancient Egyptian chronology because it interfered with the 
biblical flood myth. Dr. Franz Gall was forbidden to study the struc- 
ture of the human brain on the ground that it was "blasphemous." 10 
Nearly every important scientific book of these three centuries 
appeared on the Index of Prohibited Books, "infallibly" declared false 
because it contradicted the Bible. The biologist Huxley said he encoun- 
tered in every path of natural science a barrier reading: "No 
thoroughfare. Moses." 11 In 1832, Pope Gregory XVI's encyclical 
Mirari vos declared war on (1) all forms of society founded on liberty 
of conscience; (2) liberty of the press, "which cannot be sufficiently 
execrated and condemned, for by its means all evil doctrines are 
propagated"; and (3) liberty of scientific research. 12 Stanton says, "All 
through the centuries scholars and scientists have been imprisoned, 
tortured and burned alive for some discovery which seemed to conflict 
with a petty text of Scripture." 13 The Galileo case was the very 
beginning of a long retreat. 

I. Campbell, M.T.L.B., 15. 2. White 1, 126. 3. White 1, 138. 

4. White 1, 162-63. 5. White 1, 145. 6. H. Smith, 297. 7. White 2, 308. 
8. White 1,151. 9. White 1, 165-66. 10. Bromberg, 77; White 1, 256. 

II. White 2, 312. 12.Guignebert,452. 13. Stanton, 9. 


"Lord of Hosts," Hindu elephant god who begot Buddha on the 
virgin Maya. 1 At Elephantine in Egypt he appeared as a form of 
Yahweh, consort of the Goddess Anath, or "the Virgin Zion." He 
also reappeared in the Bible as Behemoth, who later became a demon. 
(See Elephant.) 

1. Campbell, Or.M., 307. 


River of the Goddess Ganga, daughter of the Mountain-mother 
Nanda Devi (Blessed Goddess), one of the Himalayas. Ganga's waters 
represented baptism and redemption. Shiva's hymn of praise to her 
said: "Heaps of sin, accumulated by a sinner during millions of births, 
are destroyed by the mere contact of a wind charged with her vapor. 
... As fire consumes fuel, so this stream consumes the sins of the 
wicked. Sages mount the staired terrace of the Ganges; on it they 


transcend the high heaven of Brahma himself: free from danger, riding Ganymede 

celestial chariots, they go to Shiva's abode. Sinners who expire near Gawain 

the water of the Ganges are released from all their sins: they become 

Shiva's attendants and dwell at his side. They become identical with ^^"^^" 

him in shape; they never die not even on the day of the total 
dissolution of the universe." ' No wonder millions come from all over 
India to bathe in Ganga's magic waters. 

l.Zimmer, 110. 


"Rejoicing in virility," the boy-lover given to Father Zeus by Hellen- 
ic writers anxious to create a divine prototype for their cult of 
homosexuality. Ganymede was carried to heaven on an eagle's back 
to slake Zeus's lust. He became Cupbearer to the Gods, replacing Hebe 
who was the virgin aspect of Mother Hera. 1 Thus the dispenser of 
immortality was made male instead of female. 

1. Graves, CM. 1,116-17. 


Throughout the Christian era, garlic was considered a protection 
against vampires and werewolves, as efficacious as a crucifix if not more 
so. The source of this belief might be found in pagan tradition, since 
blood-drinking revenants were simply diabolized versions of pagans who 
believed they could attain immortality by drinking the blood of gods 
other than Christ. Garlic and garlic-eaters were taboo in Greco-Roman 
temples of the Mother of the Gods. Probably the Goddess's dislike of 
garlic was based on its unsuitability for group contact and sexual 
worship, which required sweet-smelling breath. 


Hindu sage who castrated the god Indra and took his wife from him, 
in a primitive Oedipal myth recounted in the Ramayana. 1 Gautama was 
one of the many names of Buddha, of whom the archaic sage was 
one emanation. 

l.O'Flaherty, 94-95. 

Gawain var. Gavin 

Celtic name of the sun god. While he was fighting Lancelot, 
Gawain's strength increased as the morning approached noon, but after 


Gehenna the sun began to decline from the zenith Gawain's strength waned. 

Genevieve, Saint He was conquered just before sunset. 

^^ m __ _ ^^^^^ Another battle story made Gawain symbolize the new sun at the 

turning of the year. He beheaded the Green Knight (old year) at the 
festival of the winter solstice, and had to submit to a similar fate himself 
at the following New Year. 1 

Along with his three brothers Gaheris, Gareth, and Agravine, 
Gawain represented the Celtic sacred year with its four quarters. All 
four were born of the Triple Goddess under the name of Margawse, 
Arthur's sister-wife, who also gave birth to Mordred, Arthur's son- 
nephew, destined to defeat and replace him. (See Arthur.) 

1. Loomis, 324-42. 


Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, once the site of a fire-altar 
called Tophet, where sacrifices were made to the Tyrian god Moloch, 
Molech, or Melek, "the King," worshipped by Solomon 
(1 Kings 11:7). 

After the Jews gave up passing their firstborn children "through 
the fire to Molech" (Leviticus 18:21), the shrine was abandoned. 
The valley became a dump where rubbish, including corpses of crimi- 
nals and other outcasts, was burned. 1 Thus the stench and fire 
associated with Gehenna eventually made its name a synonym for hell. 

The Jews elaborated the basic seven-layered Babylonian under- 
world into a mystic Gehenna sixty times as big as the world, where 
each "palace" had 6,000 houses, and each house had 6,000 vessels of 
fire and gall. Prince of Gehenna was Arsiel, copied from the 
Babylonian netherworld god Aciel, "Black Sun," negative aspect of the 
sun god. 2 In Gehenna's central pit lived the serpent-angel Apollyon, 
another name for the same negative aspect of the sun god Apollo 
(Revelation 9:11). 

1. Cavendish, P.E., 146. 2. Budge, G.E. 1, 275. 

Genevieve, Saint 

"Generator of Life," a canonized Gallic Diana, patron of Paris. In 
her church at Andernach she was a "queen" who lived in a sacred cave 
and bore a holy child. She could take the form of a white hind, like 
the Goddess. One King Siegfried met her while he was hunting, 
married her, and became her Lord of the Hunt. 1 

The Frankish king Clovis had himself buried in the shrine of 
"St. Genevieve," which Gregory of Tours insisted on calling by its 
newer name, the Church of the Holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul; 
but in Gregory's time it was still remembered as the temple of the 


Goddess. 2 Gregory's history, written over a century later and full of Genius 

legendary material, is the only extant source of information about Clovis George, Saint 

or Genevieve. 

St. Genevieve's runic emblem was a pentacle raised above a cross: 
a strong hint of paganism. 3 The people of Paris still commemorate 
the occasion in 1 129 when her holy relics allegedly halted an epidemic 
in the city. 4 

1. Guerber, L.R., 149-51. 2. Encyc. Brit, "Clovis." 3. Brewster, 52. 
4. Attwater, 147. 


"Begetter," a Roman word for a spirit of paternal ancestry, cognate 
with Arabic djinni or genie. Each Roman man had his personal genius 
as a guardian angel or familiar; each woman had a corresponding 
female spirit called a juno. 1 In the time of the empire, the word genius 
came to be applied to both sexes. Official prayers were addressed to 
the "Genius of Rome, whether masculine or feminine, whether god or 
goddess." 2 

The meaning of genius changed again in the Middle Ages, when it 
was virtually synonymous with "spirit." One could speak of a genius 
loci, spirit of a place; or an "evil genius," a demon. The modern 
meaning, an exceptionally intelligent or inspired person, was of late 
origin. In 1875 a.d., James Hinton defined genius as "the woman in 
man." 3 In this sense a genius was very similar to a Muse or a Shakti. 

1. Rose, 193. 2. Dumezil, 39. 3. Pearsall, W.B., 490 

George, Saint 

Fictitious patron saint of England. St. George's Day was known to 
the Romans as the Feast of Pales, a fertility festival. Medieval custom 
honored St. George on Easter Monday, the Moon-day following the 
Sun-day of the Christian hero. Folklore named the pagan savior Green 
George, a spirit of spring. 1 His image was common in old church 
carvings, a human head surrounded by leaves or looking out of a tree 
trunk. Some called him the witches' god, "a confused idea of 
something between a tree and a man," or "the devil in the shape of a 
trunk of a tree . . . with some form of a human face." 2 

St. George the Dragon-slayer apparently evolved from a mythic 
meld of Green George with an Arian bishop of Alexandria who 
opposed St. Athanasius, and put to death an orthodox Master of the 
Mint named Dracontius, "Dragon." ? 

St. George's emblem was a vesica piscis, a prime fertility symbol 
because it represented the Goddess's yoni; but Christian authorities 
preferred to interpret it as a "shield." Still, George was so shamelessly 
involved in fertility rites that the church discredited him and began 


Ghora calling him "the imaginary saint." An old English ballad said: "Some 

Giants say there was no George; some, that there no Dragon was; pray God, 

^ mmmmmmm ^^^^ m there was at least a maid." 4 

1. Frazer, G.B., 145-46. 2. Knight, D.W.P., 221, 229. 
3. Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 269. 4. Brewster, 209-10. 


"Horrible," the third of Vishnu's three boar-children destined for 
sacrifice so their "energy" (blood) might nourish and uphold the world. 
Their names probably were based on archaic titles of the Triple 
Goddess; the first two meant "Well-Rounded One," and "Golden 
One." Ghora personified a primal taboo, as did the Greek Gorgon 
who was also "Horrible." Ghora was destructive, therefore sacrificed 
with his siblings "for the sake of the three universes," for these boar- 
children were capable of destroying even the gods in the highest 
heaven. 1 

l.O'Flaherty, 193-96. 


A cognate of "guest," both words rooted in Germanic Geist, original- 
ly a spirit of a dead ancestor invited to tribal feasts on such occasions as 
Samhain (Halloween) and other solemn ceremonies. Many Europe- 
an peoples preserved the heads or skulls of ancestors, which were set up, 
painted, and decorated, in a prominent position at gatherings of the 
clan, and were consulted for oracles after being offered their portion of 
the collation. Hence the "Death's-head at the feast." During later 
Christian times the custom was discouraged, for the church's doctrine of 
resurrection of the flesh forbade burial of bodies without heads. 
Nevertheless, the visiting ghost was an ineradicable belief. Ghosts were 
supposed to haunt all the scenes of their former lives, especially if 
they died violently or unhappily, or were buried in unconsecrated 
ground, or had possessed evil spirits. The earlier, more benevolent 
type of family ghost is still suggested by the identical pronunciation of 
"ghost" and "guest" in northern England. 1 The anger of ghosts was 
most feared by people who refused to honor them as guests. 


Appearing in every mythology as a primal Elder Race, giants 
were obvious projections of every child's earliest perceptions of the adult 
world. Like grownups seen through the eye of the toddler, giants 


Itended to be fearsome, sometimes bloodthirsty but sometimes benevo- Giants 

Blent; possessors of an arcane ancient wisdom; and adepts of magic. 

According to the Bible, giants were like all Savior-figures up to and ^^^^^^^^^^^ 
(including Jesus: offspring of divine fathers and human mothers 
(Genesis 6:4). Semitic tradition held that all the biblical patriarchs were 

of enormous size. Abraham was seventy times as big as a modern 
man. Philo maintained that Adam was a giant. 1 Unlettered Arabs still 
say the megalithic structures being studied by archeologists were not 
so hard for the ancient people to build, because those people were 
giants. 2 

Long before the Bible was written, Hindus were saying the same 
of the people of the Golden Age, in the childhood stage of humanity. 
Like parent figures, the earliest races were gigantic, sinless, wise, and 
long-lived. They died only when they wished to. They could live a 
thousand years because, in their age, life was "centered in the blood" 
i.e., the immortal blood of the Goddess. 3 (See Menstrual Blood.) 
That this life-giving blood was a feminine effluent is suggested by the 
story of Thor's journey to Giant-land to learn the secrets of the 
giants' ancient magic; he could not find the right way until he crossed a 
river of the giantesses' menstrual blood. 4 In Greece, the similar river 
leading to the land of "ancestors" was the Styx. 

Greeks called the giants Titans, offspring of Mother Earth and 
Father Sky (Uranus). The heavenly Father was jealous of his chil- 
dren and tried to smother them by clinging too closely to Mother Earth 
to let them breathe air. Earth gave her son Cronus the moon-sickle 
and bade him castrate and kill his Father. Later, Cronus married Rhea 
the Titaness another incarnation of the same Mother Earth and 
feared the same Oedipal fate from the other end. To preserve his own 
life, he swallowed his children. The mother saved one of them, Zeus, 
who did indeed attack his father and marry the same Mother Earth 
under a variety of her names Hera, Olympia, Rhea, Gaea, or 
Danae. The Oedipal theme of the father-son rivals almost always 
appears in connection with the giant-myths. 5 

Greeks assigned to the Titans all the crude religious rites of their 
ancestors, such as cannibalistic sacraments and dismemberment of 
divine victims like Dionysus or Zagreus. As archaic earth-deities, the 
Titans battled the newer Olympian gods in a myth known as the 
Giants' Revolt, paralleled by Persian, Jewish, and Christian stories of the 
War in Heaven. 6 One of the mythic reasons given for the war was 
Zeus's punishment of the Titans for eating Dionysus's flesh; but Zeus, 
inconsistently, himself devoured Dionysus's heart. 

Legends of giant ancestors were used by Christians to defend the 
fraudulent miracle-working bones of the Holy Innocents supposedly 
slaughtered by King Herod. When it was observed that these profitable 
bones were too large to have come from children less than two years 
of age, churchmen argued that the human frame was bigger in Herod's 
time, because it was closer to the age of giants. 8 

The Irish said giant people still lived in "the chambered under- 


Giles, Saint grounds of Tara where dwell the fourth race of gods who settled 

Gilgamesh Ireland." They were the Tuatha De Danann, people of the Goddess 

^ ^^^^^_ Dana, builders of stone temples. 9 Their Goddess passed into medi- 
eval folklore as Titania, the Fairy Queen. 10 Curiously, though she was a 
Titaness and the Tuatha De Danann were giants, they shrank as 
popular belief in their powers waned before the encroachment of the 
new religion. Eventually they became fairies or elves, not giants but 
"little people," the size of children or even smaller. 11 This reduction in 
their size was surely related to a reduction in awesomeness. Signifi- 
cantly, their religious myths became "fairy tales" for children, and many 
of their liturgies and sacred songs reappeared in the guise of nursery 

1. Tennant, 134. 2. Cavendish, P.E., 128. 3. Mahanirvanatantra, pp. xlvii-xlviii. 
4. Turville-Petre, 79. 5. Cavendish, P.E., 124-25. 6. Graves, CM. 1, 1 19, 131. 
7. Campbell, P.M., 101. 8. de Voragine, 66. 9. Keightley, 446. 
10. Graves, W.G, 476. 1 1 . Cavendish, P.E., 238. 

Giles, Saint 

Druidic deity adopted into the Christian canon. His legend